February 6, 2011
by Ariel Adams
News about this Casio watch concept has been everywhere. People seem to be more excited about what it is able to do than Casio is. This is partially evidenced by its circa 1987 G-Shock design. This however is a mere prototype – meant to show off the concept. That concept being the ability for a watch to sync via Bluetooth with a phone – and not have pathetically poor battery life in the process. Sure this Casio Bluetooth watch isn’t the first timepiece that allows you to connect your phone to your watch, but all of those previous watches needed to be charged really frequently. This watch would need a battery change each two years like a normal (non solar powered) Casio quartz watch.
The secret? Something called BLE, which stands for Bluetooth Low Energy. This new profile requires much less energy to move information from two Bluetooth connected devices. Though I did also hear that this is a feature of Bluetooth profile 4.0 – something that is currently not available on any phones. So while this is impressive technology, you’ll have to not only wait for this watch to come out, but also new phones to come out that utilize Bluetooth 4.0.
If the Casio Bluetooth concept is a success, don’t expect just this one resin model to come out. Casio will more than likely offer a whole range of timepieces that utilize the phone connect functions. While I could be wrong, I have a feeling that the pictured model will not be released in an unmodified form. Though for reference, it is just over 44mm wide – so not as big as say a Pathfinder model.
OK, so you have a decent battery life and the ability to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. What is that going to allow you to do? Casio has actually be able to successfully demonstrate a host of uses that I think are more than gimmicky. They are also seem to suggest some light touch screen properties.
While there is more info below, and the final product is yet to be seen, there are a few promising features. First is the very basic time sync function. Know all those people who use phones for the time rather than watches? Well the accurate time from your phone can sync to this Casio watch – that also applies to the date, etc…
Because the connection is almost instant, your watch can let you know when a call is coming in, as well as who is calling you via caller ID – or contact name info set in your phone. You can also silence the ringer on your phone to stop a call by tapping the watch. Related to this is the ability to get alerts about incoming text messages or e-mails on your watch.
You should also be able to access information gathered on your phone, on your watch. GPS information, or streaming data from apps should theoretically being available on the Casio Bluetooth watch. This has all types of potential functions and benefits. These include simple tools such as weather data on your wrist, to potentially information on turn by turn GPS directions on your wrist.
As really cool feature (especially for a lot of people I know) is the “find my phone” tool. Given that your watch is in Bluetooth range of your smartphone (maybe 30 feet), you will be able to have your phone ring if you can’t find it. This is good if the phone is dropped under a seat in the car, long in a bag, or caught somewhere in bed covers.
Aside from all of these phone connect features via Bluetooth, except the Casio watch to do all the things you’d expect from a Casio watch. So you’ll have the time, calendar, alarms, stopwatch, etc… While we are all really excited about this new Casio Bluetooth watch, I expect a few solid months before it is finally commercially available – if not more. There will need to be at least a few phones on the market with the most up to date Bluetooth standards, and the price will need to be right. I have a feeling these Casio Bluetooth watches will be in the $200 range when they are eventually available.
Tech specs from Casio:
Overview of Casio’s Prototype Bluetooth Low Energy Watch
Wireless communication is powered by the button-cell battery used in small devices and watches
Battery life with the communication functions is the same as previously released watches
The watch case measures a comfortable 53.4 (D) x 44.4 (W) x 12.8 (T) millimeters
The alert signal notifies the wearer of calls and e-mail messages arriving on the networked smartphone
Alarm and vibration functions of a smartphone can be activated using a watch button
A smartphone’s ring and vibration alerts can be stopped by tapping the watch
Accurate time information can be transmitted from a smartphone to the watch to ensure correct time
Main Specifications of the Prototype Bluetooth Low Energy Watch
|Communication Specifications||Data Transfer Rate||1 Mbps|
|Signal Strength||0 dBm (1mW)|
|Signal Range||2—5 m (may differ depending on surrounding conditions)|
|Encryption Method||128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)|
|Communication Functions||Time Correction||The watch can be synchronized with time information transmitted from a smartphone|
|Incoming Call and E-mail Alert||The watch alerts users of incoming calls and e-mail messages sent to a smartphone|
|Finder Function||Alarm and vibration functions of a smartphone can be activated using a watch button|
|Watch Functions||Alarm||5 independent daily alarms; hourly time signal; vibration function|
|Stopwatch||1/100-second; measuring capacity: 23:59’59.99”; split time|
|Countdown Timer||Measuring unit: 1 second; Input range: 1 minute to 24 hours|
|World Time||100 cities (35 time zones, daylight saving on/off) and Coordinated Universal Time|
|Light||Electro-luminescent backlight with afterglow|
|Other||Full auto-calendar, 12/24-hour format; sleep mode|
|Approx. Battery Life
(Based on the Prototype Model)
|Approx. 2 years (assuming the communication function is used for 12 hours per day)|
|Size of Case||53.4 Ã— 44.4 Ã— 12.8 mm|
|Total Weight||Approx. 50g|