Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So   watch industry news

Once again, it seems that Ariel’s theory (here) that we are on the way to a consumer-grade smart watch is well on-track to being proven true. While this latest Kickstarter project doesn’t hit all of the points he made, it is advancing us further along the path.

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So   watch industry news

The new HOT Watch (yeah, a goofy name, but it ostensibly stands for “Hands On Talk” – more on that in a minute) is from a Dallas firm we’ve never heard of before – PH Technical Labs. As you might guess from the name, this is a company that’s no stranger to electronics, but this is their first watch as far as I can tell. Fortunately, this is one of the nicer-looking watches we’ve seen in the segment, no doubt helped by the design work of Michael Foley (another name I’ve never heard of, and couldn’t turn up any info). One surprising bit of the design is how thin the watch is. Coming in at only 8mm thick, this should make for a very compact watch (hopefully battery life isn’t lost in that tradeoff – estimated standby life is 3 days).

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So   watch industry news

One of the more intriguing things about this watch is its use of built-in gestures (relying on the accelerometer and gyroscope in the case). The star of this show, though, is the fact that this watch can do something that is being labeled as “private calling”. In short, when you receive a call, you raise your hand to your ear, and the phone picks up and you talk away. This is courtesy a speaker (and microphone) that live on the underside of the strap, enabling the sound to be amplified by your cupped hand (kind of like putting a phone in an empty water glass). Hopefully it doesn’t add much bulk while you’re pretending to be Dick Tracy or Michael Knight (via the Knight Rider).

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So   watch industry news

Inherently, that definitely has some “wow” factor, that’s for sure. That said, I certainly wouldn’t want to have my hand to my head for a lengthy call. I picture something like this being handy for a quick call to home or the office, or perhaps for a private chat on a mass transit commute where you could prop your arm up. Regardless of the situation, it would be fun to try out. Oh, and then when you’re done talking? You can simply wave bye-bye (yes, literally wave your hand) and the call will be hung up. I don’t know about you, but I’d feel pretty foolish waving at nothing (especially after people saw you talking to your hand). Fortunately, you can also dismiss the call utilizing the multi-touch capable e-ink screen.

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So   watch industry news

The HOT Watch also has a few other capabilities built in that I’m surprised no other smart watch has taken advantage of (at least, out of the box – no telling what 3rd-party developers may come up with). The first calls to mind a commercial that it seems I saw constantly during summer reruns growing up – the one for the LifeAlert bracelet. You know the one – “Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” In that same vein, the HOT Watch can detect when you’ve fallen and, after a set amount of time, fire off a text message to a designated emergency contact.

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So   watch industry news

It’s not a feature likely to be used by the target market for this watch, but it’s a differentiator. Also a differentiator is that they’ve built in a basic pedometer application that will tracks steps taken, calories burned, all that good stuff. In some ways, a package like this seems like a great spot to put some of the fitness tracking capabilities we see in other wearable tech. It’s also another great value-add for the folks who are looking to adopt these early incarnations as well.

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So   watch industry news

Past those features, we’re into more familiar territory. The watch communicates via bluetooth (to any phone, though iPhone and Android users will have a fuller experience), through which all manner of functionality (weather, email, calls, texting, etc) are accessible via the multi-touch e-ink screen. You will also have the ability to select between four different watch faces (analog and digital). It also has a variety of alerting built in (either vibrate or audible), including one that lets you know if you get out of range of your phone.

Smartwatches Hot? One Kickstarter Project Certainly Thinks So   watch industry news

As of this writing, the Kickstarter project is enthusiastically over-target (about $60k over their goal), so we should see this watch hit production. If you want to jump in, the lower tiers are sold out, but you can still get in at an entry price of $119 for the Basic (around a $50 savings from anticipated retail) or $129 for the Edge or Classic models (a $70 discount from retail). With delivery being anticipated in January of 2014, we’ll definitely have some time to see how this unfolds. Fortunately for them, this is hitting before some rumored big players (Samsung for one) are releasing their smart watch options. hotsmartwatch.com

10 comments
evandowen
evandowen

I placed my iPhone on my wrist while playing music to simulate the speaker integrated into the band of this watch. I was curious to see how well the HOT feature would work, in the end it works, however, its likely you call won't be private. Seems kind of gimmicky to me.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

It has a few unique features, but i'm not sure it's enough to make it a "must-have" purchase.  I'm pretty sure smart watches that enable voice control and Siri interaction already exist.

MerrickMichellePickens
MerrickMichellePickens

I stinkin love this watch! My personal favorite feature is that it has voice control. I also like the pedometer that can track my calories burned.

techisking
techisking

Man, the voice control addition is probably the most interesting to me! That would be perfect for interfacing with Siri. Looking forward to seeing that in action.

elmsocial
elmsocial

I definitely want one.  The features the best I have seen from any of the smart watches out there.  The company has been very responsive to the feedback they are getting from the public as well.  

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@MerrickMichellePickens @Ulysses31 The Kreyos Meteor has voice and gesture control as stated above by aacarter.  The Pebble can be easily updated to support Siri, and the Martian smartwatches also support Siri control.  There are others but I don't have the time to hunt them all down.  Suffice to say, nothing unique about these "Hot" watches.

MerrickMichellePickens
MerrickMichellePickens

@Ulysses31 @MerrickMichellePickensHOT Watch not only supports Gestures, voice control and speaker. But it also has Patent Pending Private calling features which no watch can offer. And also it is not true that it is easy for someone like pebble to add siri support. It is not possible as they do not even have MIC so it will require a complete Hardware design change for them. Pebble/Kreyos/Martian does not even have Touch  screen. HOT Watch is the only complete smart watch solution out there with: Touch Screen, HOT Gestures, Shortcuts, Voice control, Speaker phone and Private calling without touching your phone.

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