Today at the Wearable Technologies Conference in Taipei, we tracked down Longshine Technologies, a technology company from Beijing who are demonstrating their Halo series of smartwatches. The Halo stands out from the increasingly crowded smart watch space with a design that incorporates both a traditional analog watch and an Android smartwatch overlayed using a transparent touchscreen. Watch the video below where Mobile Geeks get hands on with our first hybrid analog smartwatch.
Longshine currently have two devices in development known as the Halo 1 which is a smartphone companion device, and the Halo 2 which includes 2G telephony so it can be used as a stand alone device. Both examples that we managed to get hold of were early sample prototypes, so in fact the specs and design are expected to change over time. The Halo 1 features a transparent OLED display with a 96 x 96 pixel resolution and 8-bit (256) color depth. This may seem pretty low res compared to many of the devices we have covered in the last year or so, we were told that the use of a transparent display does in fact bring limitations in the areas of both color depth and screen resolution.
The great thing of course about this kind of hybrid design is that the device can look much more like a typical sports watch, with classic styled seconds, minutes and hour hands powered by a standard Swiss or Japanese quartz movement. This is until of course you click the power button on the upper left hand edge, engaging the devices’ transparent touchscreen display that literally floats atop the analog watch face.
The Android UI implemented has been vastly simplified compared to what you would expect on a smartphone of course, and is in fact based on the mature Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). Installed apps include messaging, phone calls, music player, pedometer, compass and stopwatch. By far the most impressive thing for me is ability to make and answer calls on the Halo 2 watch, a great boon for those of us who don’t want to take the phone with us when we run or work out.
Watch a quick hands on video of the Halo 1 and Halo 2 analog and digital Android smartwatches:
The processor on both Halo watches is actually an ARM-based processor from Intel in the shape of the Intel XMM 2231, a 2G compatible mobile processor that is clocked at 300MHz. There is 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, while the Halo 1 uses a 240mAh battery and the Halo 2 which integrates SIM card slot and a 2G antenna is powered by a larger 350mAh battery. Both batteries are expected to last more than 3 days on one charge, which happens via a magnetized USB adapter which clicks into place on the left side edge.