Amazon hasn’t announced any plans to make its own smartwatch, but a new Indiegogo campaign is promising the next-best thing.
CoWatch claims to be the ”world’s first Amazon Alexa integrated smartwatch.” Much like the Amazon Echo connected speaker, CoWatch will tap into Amazon’s voice services for controlling smart home devices, ordering rides from Uber, adding things to your shopping list, and asking for traffic and weather reports, among other uses.
There’s no mention of any official involvement from Amazon, but that may not be necessary given that Alexa is now available to third-party hardware makers. (You can even build your own dirt-cheap Alexa device with a Raspberry Pi and a few other components.)
Alexa aside, the CoWatch is fairly standard smartwatch fare, using Bluetooth to pair with either an Android phone or iPhone. It has a round, always-on Super AMOLED display, stainless steel and zirconia ceramic body, step counter, heart rate sensor, and water resistance. Inside, there’s a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage, and the battery supposedly lasts up to 32 hours on a charge. A wireless charging cradle is included in the package.
The watch is a collaboration between iMCO, a little-known electronics firm based in China, and Cronologics, whose wearable operating system will also appear on the upcoming Blocks modular smartwatch. Cronologics’ CEO, Leor Stern, previously worked at IFTTT and spent a decade at Google before that.
Digital Trends managed to get a preview of the watch, and noted that the software “still has a far way to go to offer a smooth experience,” though home controls and to-do lists seemed to work as advertised. Stern promised that the experience would get better ahead of launch.
Early backers won’t have to wait long to find out. CoWatch claims that it will ship 800 watches—already in production—within three weeks of the Indiegogo campaign’s end, and will ship all other orders within 90 days. Early bird pricing is enticing at $159 to $350, but don’t forget how some of these crowdfunded wearable stories end.
Why this matters: Being able to control your home, order pizza, check your bills, and buy household goods from an Amazon Echo is nice, but putting one of the always-listening speakers in every room is probably impractical. An Alexa-enabled smartwatch could fill in for all those times when the Echo isn’t available; the only question is whether CoWatch is just a holdover until Amazon builds a smartwatch of its own.