Smartwatches have still yet to really engage the mainstream audiences. In fact, no one is currently shipping a smartwatch that has really interested anyone other than the technology enthusiast (re: geek). We’ve seen some recent excitement from the Pebble Smartwatch, but due to the explosive success of their Kickstarter project they have announced that they are not ready to distribute their product. The guys at Metawatch have been selling developer versions of their smartwatch for some time now, but until today they have not announced consumer product. Now, we see that they are ready to sell to more than just developers with the Metawatch Strata.
The Strata is clearly a complete thought in terms of design, compared to the review we did of the developer kit. This sport watch is made to be water resistant and offers a much sleeker design, without changing the actual layout of the watch. The buttons are all essentially in the same place, and it even uses the same charging pins on the bottom that double as JTAG debug pins. The watch face itself is a metallic ink that is reflective in the sun. The screen is always on, and if the developer watch was any indicator, has great battery life despite that decision.
Where Metawatch is really going to succeed with the Strata is their clear targeting of iOS users. During their video presentation on Kickstarter, the Metawatch team clearly focuses on how well the watch will work on iOS. Specifically iOS 6, which allows for a great deal more communication between the iPhone and third party devices. The iOS notification center has evolved to allow devices like the Strata to really support the platform. According to our sources at Metawatch, Android is still very much supported, but only on a limited number of handsets which will be announced at a later date. The flexible nature of Android has caused issues for Metawatch in the past, which leads to a less than ideal user experience.
Like the Pebble smartwatch, Metwatch has taken to Kickstarter. Having learned from the issues that Pebble is currently experiencing, the Metwawatch Kickstarter is setup to handle a limited number of “orders” for watches. This limit, according to Metawatch, is set so they have a manageable number of devices that they know they can deliver on in the timeframe they have set up for themselves. As they state in the video, Metawatch has already developed their production and distribution networks, which are the very things that holding up the Pebble project right now.
The Metawatch Strata is going to be offered initially in a vibrant orange, green, and blue. On top of this, a limited edition version of the blue watch, being called QR camo, is also available. Metawatch has partnered once again with Susan Kare for the design of the watch. Kare, who was previously responsible for the font originally used on Apple computers, was involved early on with Metawatch in designing some of the original UI for the watch itself.
The Metawatch Strata is available on Kickstarter starting at $159.
For more reading check out Geek.com’s smartwatch guide.
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