I'm Watch and Sony SmartWatch Pick Up Where iPad Nano Left Off

CES 2012

We think Apple made a good move with the iPod Nano. It's our go-to device when we're walking, running or hiking, easy to snap into a watch holder. Where we feel it falls short is the limited amount of apps available. Now imagine a Nano upgraded...upgraded significantly to handle all sorts of tasks beyond playing music, clock, pedometer, and radio, and now you've got an idea of what the I'm Watch proposes...

The I'm Watch series from Italy is a customized, closed system Android device designed as a sidekick Robin to a smartphone's Batman. Dependent upon your phone's connection via Bluetooth, rather than a genuine replacement device, the watch offers many of the most common app features you might normally use on a smartphone at a quick touchscreen flick. We were informed users won't be able to directly access/download from the Android Marketplace; users will instead be directed to use i'market. Nevertheless, the watch comes loaded with 18 unique apps.

When synced with just about any modern mobile device (iOS, Android, WP7, Blackberry, Bada, Symbian), the I'm Watch operates as a Dick Tracy style watch phone. Dial numbers, answer calls, and access numbers via an address book app with the 1.54" 240x240 TFT display.

Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter apps send push notications, while a News and Weather feed make digesting bite size bits if information on the go a glance away. It does all this with a IMX233 CPU inside, between 64MB - 128MB of RAM (4 GB Flash storage), magnetometer and accelerometer for the higher model. Where we found specs disappointing was the so-so 5 hour battery life estimated for app use, and 3 hour talk time.

Prices start at $329 for the 64MB model, while the 128MB model will set you back at $389; both versions are available seven different colors, with an estimated ship date next month.

Sony was also showing off their own flavor of Android for the wrist, the SmartWatch, similarly designed to connect to a nearby smartphone via Bluetooth 3.0. . This is basically the same idea as the I'm Watch, but Sony's version offers a 1.3" OLED touchscreen display, likely the reason this flavor of Android on the wriest is promising improved battery life (additional auto-off screen management keeps power consumption low). Due in March, the Sony Smartwatch compatibility is limited to Sony Ericsson Android smartphones (and a lone Walkman), but also works with Android Market, and is priced at a reasonable $150.

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