By Stephen Schenck | June 2, 2011 7:42 PM
We’ve seen wristwatches that connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth, giving you notifications of incoming calls, text messages, e-mail, and the like. Some of these offerings have been more complex than others, but they’re ultimately accessories that leave your smartphone to do most of the heavy lifting. In the future, we could have full-featured smartphones in a watch-sized form factor, like the Tracy XL we came across in our recent Motorola exclusive. For now, though, a new product bridges the gap between those two worlds, the Android-powered i’mWatch.
The i’mWatch doesn’t have a cellular radio of its own, so ultimately its feature set follows the same sort of restrictions we see for Bluetooth watches. For instance, it’s not set up to give you full access to emails you receive, instead showing you just the sender’s name and subject line. That doesn’t have to always be the case, though, since its Android core enables i’mWatch’s functionality to be expanded by downloading new apps (custom i’mWatch apps, not standard Android Market fare).
Of course, you shouldn’t expect the i’mWatch to have the same kind of processing power as a full-fledged smartphone, but its ARM9-based CPU, 64MB of RAM, and 4GB of flash storage make it a whole lot more capable than anything you’d normally wear on your wrist. The company doesn’t say just how the CPU is clocked, but the i.MX233 chip used supports speeds up to 454MHz. The 1.54-inch display has a 240 x 240 resolution for a pixel density of 220 ppi.
The i’mWatch will first support the iPhone and Android smartphones, with BlackBerry support planned for early next year. Pre-orders are open now, for the equivalent of about $360.