There are a few things everyone knows about smartwatches right now. First, you must have an e-ink screen. Second you have to use them with a phone nearby. Third, they’re not very rugged. Timex and Qualcomm, however, have decided to blow those myths out of the water.
Their new product, the Timex Ironman One GPS+, is a self-contained sports watch that allows for GPS location tracking, email-based wireless messaging, and systems to track your speed, distance, and position at all times as well as notify your friends and family of where you are. It connects to cellular networks via AT&T, has a large color touchscreen and includes one year of mobile data service.
The watch itself is about as big as the Nike Sport Watch or the Adidas MiCoach. However, unlike similar models that offer no wireless capabilities and smart watches like Pebble and the Galaxy Gear that require smartphone connectivity, the One GPS+ looks to be a standalone solution with full processing and wireless power built-in.
The watch can “track speed, distance and pace in real-time and instantaneously share performance metrics through your favorite social media and online fitness platforms” as well as send a “Find Me Mode” alert to friends and family when you’re lost or hurt. It can also send heart rate to family in case of an emergency. Finally, it is water-resistant to 50 meters and doubles as a Bluetooth MP3 player. Timex hasn’t described battery life just yet but it I suspect, given Qualcomm’s mobile chip chops, we should see at least a few days per charge.
The question, then, is whether Timex can pull off this ambitious watch. It seems that the timepiece is a bit more of a proof-of-concept, at least right now, but given the Ironman’s long history as rugged-watch-of-choice for runners and other athletic types I could see at least a few people moving from more sports-oriented pieces like Garmin and Polar. Battery life is obviously the biggest question as is durability, but we’ll have to wait and see until the end of summer when the watch is officially released. It is available for pre-order now for $399.95.