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Smartwatches are all the rage, and judging by the turnout and level of enthusiasm at the recent year one meetup for Pebble Kickstarter backers in San Francisco, there’s at least a passionate niche audience for the things. So it isn’t surprising to see them continue to pop up on Kickstarter. A new one called Agent has a few unique tricks, however, which its creators believe set it above the competition.
What the Agent has that others don’t is a combination of power management features and wireless charging. It has not one but two processors, for instance, one with higher performance capabilities and one extremely low-power variant to handle simple background tasks. There’s a new Sharp Memory Display that combines the advantages of both a traditional LCD and e-ink black and white, which is very power conscious, as well as wireless Qi induction charging with an included pad. Since it’s based on the widely-accepted Qi standard, however, it should work with charging pads from a variety of manufacturers.
The Agent is a refreshing change from other Kickstarter smartwatches in that it actually offers something new in terms of technical aspirations. The watch should get up to 7 days of battery life with its smart functions activated, or up to 30 days of standby in ‘watchface-only” mode. Even if that misses the mark by a bit, it should still beat the stated and actual battery life of existing devices like the Pebble. The gadget also features a 120HMz ARM Cortex-M4 processor, a 1.28-inch display, Bluetooth 4.0 (aka “Low Energy”), onboard motion and light sensors and an OS that allows developers to write apps for it using C# and Microsoft Visual Studio. It uses a Microsoft .NET runtime environment that Agent’s creators say will maximize memory and power efficiency, unlike with other smartwatches. The team says you’ll be able to start writing and emulating apps on the desktop as soon as the funding campaign is complete, which would be faster than the staged rollout of the Pebble SDK.
The creators of the Agent are Secret Labs, a team of engineers that has been building open-source products under the brand name Netduino since 2010, as well as smart home technologies, and House of Horology, a custom timepiece manufacturer that brings some real watch cred to the game. Early bird pledges get a pre-order for $129, where the final price is expected to come in at around $249 when the product ships late this year.