Casio has come up with a more traditional and less ambitious answer to high-tech smartwatches like the WIMM One, Sony SmartWatch and Pebble.
It’s called the G-Shock GB6900AA, and it uses Bluetooth to connect with an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5. It doesn’t have an E-Ink display or a touch screen like some other smart watches, but it can notify the user of incoming calls and e-mails with a beep or a vibration.
The G-Shock can also locate your phone by remotely triggering a ringtone, and it can prevent you from losing your phone by vibrating when the Bluetooth connection drops out of range. For world travelers, the G-Shock uses its smartphone connection to keep time information up date with no need for manual adjustment. The watch is shock resistant and water resistant up to 200 meters, and its battery should last two years with 12 hours of connectivity per day.
As far as smartwatches go, it’s certainly a low-IQ device. Users won’t be able to use the watch to control the iPhone’s music playback, read their e-mail, track their exercise routines or check the weather. While some smartwatches can expand their capabilities through additional apps, Casio hasn’t announced any such functionality. The G-Shock also can’t tell you who’s calling or alert you to incoming text messages, but that’s due to Apple’s restrictions on access to that information rather than any technical limitation of the watch itself. (The watch does at least tell you the sender of any incoming e-mails.)
But unlike the Kickstarter-funded Pebble, which can do many of those things, the G-Shock is supposed to ship this year, albeit in limited quantities. (Pebble’s backers were supposed to get their watches in September, but production issues have pushed the launch into next year.) The G-Shock costs $180, and is available through select Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Tourneau stores. Casio says it will sell the watch on its website as well, but it doesn’t appear to be available online yet.