A stunning piece of wrist bling all rolled into one futuristic device.
Many of the communication devices that attempt to make the jump from our hands to our wrists tend to follow the same form factor as mechanical watches (think Pebble or the much-rumored Apple iWatch, for example). The Smile SmartWatch from Emopulse is quite a different proposition. If the company manages to transform its working prototype into an actual commercial product, the Smile will be a smartphone, entertainment and gaming hub, social network and news feed, personal assistant, digital watch, and a stunning piece of wrist bling all rolled into one futuristic device.
Basically a twin-display smartphone you can wrap around your wrist and wear like a bracelet, the working prototypes are reported to have made use of experimental flexible displays. The first batch were monochrome, but the latest are full-color OLED. The upper screen auto activates as the arm is raised, while the lower screen turns on when it’s pointed upwards by twisting the wrist. The displays are housed within an aluminum enclosure, topped by waterproof and shock-resistant glass from Schott.
“We have two manufacturers of flexible screens at the moment and each of them is in a hurry to be the first on the market,” says the Californian company’s founder Nick Koloskov, who has been working on the device for the last four years. “Our partners guaranteed us a delivery of flexible screens by the end of the year (this is the main reason why we have not released products at the beginning of this year).”
Koloskov told us that the Smile will be no Pebble, and should have a display more comparable to the quality offered by the iPhone. Each display will have a screen size “the same as 3 icon rows on the iPhone 4S screen.”
He admitted that Emopulse may get beaten to market by the likes of Apple and Samsung, but said that meeting customer expectations in terms of high-quality display and functionality is the driving force behind product development, rather than being first out of the starting blocks.
The Smile runs an algorithm-based, custom Linux AI operating system, and uses biosensors embedded in the device to gather information about its wearer and uses the data to help automate certain processes.
After watching a few movies or listening to streamed music, for example, the system will recommend more content based on user tastes and/or emotional responses. The accuracy of the predictions will increase over time. The sensors could also be used alongside virtual physical trainers to help keep users in trim with personal, monitored workouts.
The device will be powered by the yet-to-be-released low-power, high-speed OMAP 5 processor from Texas Instruments, which has built-in graphical processing for high-definition playback that should be able to comfortably cope with on-wrist gaming. The Smile boasts 2 GB of system memory, and either 128 or 256 GB of included solid state memory.
Other key specs include a nano-SIM card slot, allowing the device to act as an LTE-ready smartphone in its own right, or be paired with an existing smartphone via Bluetooth. The main display will auto switch between day- and night-time modes, but the phone part can remain active while you slumber, and the Smile will auto-direct incoming calls to voice mail or play a message advising callers to ring back later.
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