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Emopulse Smile SmartWatch goes up for pre-order

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June 19, 2013

Emopulse has hit Indiegogo to take pre-orders for its Smile SmartWatch

Emopulse has hit Indiegogo to take pre-orders for its Smile SmartWatch

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Many of the communication devices that attempt to make the jump from our hands to our wrists tend to follow the same form factor as mechanical watches (think Pebble or the much-rumored Apple iWatch, for example). The Smile SmartWatch from Emopulse is quite a different proposition. If the company manages to transform its working prototype into an actual commercial product, the Smile will be a smartphone, entertainment and gaming hub, social network and news feed, personal assistant, digital watch, and a stunning piece of wrist bling all rolled into one futuristic device.

Basically a twin-display smartphone you can wrap around your wrist and wear like a bracelet, the working prototypes are reported to have made use of experimental flexible displays. The first batch were monochrome, but the latest are full-color OLED. The upper screen auto activates as the arm is raised, while the lower screen turns on when it's pointed upwards by twisting the wrist. The displays are housed within an aluminum enclosure, topped by waterproof and shock-resistant glass from Schott.

"We have two manufacturers of flexible screens at the moment and each of them is in a hurry to be the first on the market," says the Californian company's founder Nick Koloskov, who has been working on the device for the last four years. "Our partners guaranteed us a delivery of flexible screens by the end of the year (this is the main reason why we have not released products at the beginning of this year)."

Koloskov told us that the Smile will be no Pebble, and should have a display more comparable to the quality offered by the iPhone. Each display will have a screen size "the same as 3 icon rows on the iPhone 4S screen."

Each display will have a screen size 'the same as 3 icon rows on the iPhone 4S screen'

He admitted that Emopulse may get beaten to market by the likes of Apple and Samsung, but said that meeting customer expectations in terms of high-quality display and functionality is the driving force behind product development, rather than being first out of the starting blocks.

The Smile runs an algorithm-based, custom Linux AI operating system, and uses biosensors embedded in the device to gather information about its wearer and uses the data to help automate certain processes.

After watching a few movies or listening to streamed music, for example, the system will recommend more content based on user tastes and/or emotional responses. The accuracy of the predictions will increase over time. The sensors could also be used alongside virtual physical trainers to help keep users in trim with personal, monitored workouts.

The device will be powered by the yet-to-be-released low-power, high-speed OMAP 5 processor from Texas Instruments, which has built-in graphical processing for high-definition playback that should be able to comfortably cope with on-wrist gaming. The Smile boasts 2 GB of system memory, and either 128 or 256 GB of included solid state memory.

Other key specs include a nano-SIM card slot, allowing the device to act as an LTE-ready smartphone in its own right, or be paired with an existing smartphone via Bluetooth. The main display will auto switch between day- and night-time modes, but the phone part can remain active while you slumber, and the Smile will auto-direct incoming calls to voice mail or play a message advising callers to ring back later.

The Smile has three cameras, a front-facing webcam, a 12-megapixel snapper and a side-moun...

In addition to being Wi-Fi-capable, it's also said to be NFC-capable for instant, single-touch device connectivity, though its inclusion seems to be more geared toward making the Smile your mobile virtual credit card wallet or electronic lock opener. All keys and payment information will be encrypted, and as an added security measure, the data will be blocked when the Smile is removed from the wrist.

Physical connectivity comes in the shape of a sliding USB 3.0 connector, which is also said to help keep the Smile from sliding off the wrist. Though the website currently mentions the inclusion of a Thunderbolt 10 Gbps communications port, Koloskov has told us that prototype testing has revealed unexpected issues, so the first production units will not include this technology.

According to its developers, Smile's current 2,500 mAh battery should be good for two days of intensive use between charges, or seven days in power-saving mode. They are reportedly looking at producing a high-end version of the device that will sport a 3,000 mAh battery.

Proprietary Purepath audio technology is claimed to offer users a fuller wireless sonic playback experience. There's no audio jack for headphones, so users will need to use wireless headsets for private music listening. Dropout-free, hi-fi enthusiast-pleasing 16-bit, 44.1/48 KHz CD quality audio is what's being promised here. Stereo speakers feature for more public sharing.

The Smile goes one better than modern smartphones by offering three integrated cameras and three microphones. There's a face-tracking webcam at the top of the main display for web chats and video-conferencing. The top edge packs a 12-megapixel snapper that's capable of recording 1080p high definition video, while a third camera "designed with unique optics" is mounted on the side of the smartwatch.

This functions like a scanner/reader. Pointing it at bar codes, QR codes or URLs will result in the relevant information being displayed on the device's screen. Emopulse says that this camera will also follow the path of a finger as it runs below text on a printed page, and capture the fragment in the device's memory for later recall.

The device will also benefit from Siri-like speech recognition, and be able to recognize a user's natural language. There'll be an avatar-based digital personal assistant to help with searches, setting reminders, making notes and the like, and the system will learn from the kind of searches made, commands given and requests made.

Buying flowers for a colleague is the example given by Emopulse. The first time that the Smile is requested to seek out a florist and make a purchase, it will offer a number of suggested outlets. Subsequent requests can then be automated based on the actions taken in the first instance. Of course, you could just opt to use menu-driven onscreen navigation to organize your life instead.

The Smile should have a display comparable to the quality offered by the iPhone

To get these futuristic devices onto the wrists of consumers, Emopulse has launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, where two flavors of the Smile SmartWatch are available for pre-order. Pledge levels start of US$480 for the 128 GB models. They're available in black with blue accenting to the side, come in four sizes, and in left- or right-handed orientation. A 256 GB version can be yours for a pledge of $550. The campaign runs until July 11.

The first batch (for developers) will not include wireless charging capabilities and should be ready for release by October. Serial production is due to start by the end of 2013 (pending delivery of flexible displays). Emopulse is planning to open a Smile app store in early 2014, along with a software development kit for the production of third party apps.

Considering all that the Smile SmartWatch wants to be, it will be quite an achievement to actually pull this off, but we're gonna have to wait until the end of the year for any glimpse of actual product. Though Koloskov claims to have working Smile SmartWatch prototypes in the bag, none were ready in time for the promo video shoot. As a result, the actors in the video below look to be wearing plastic bracelets which have had display functionality digitally overlayed in post-production.

"We apologize about the video as it was filmed a year ago, while many more interfaces were not created, so some interfaces were replaced by computer graphics," he says. "Today things have changed, but we will show it in October, when the product will be officially presented to the general public."

Sources: Emopulse, Indiegogo

Editor update 24 Feb 2014: Though the EmoPulse website is still live at the time of this update, last year's crowdfunding campaign page is no longer on Indiegogo and the link to the company's online shop is shown as unavailable.

We are unaware of the fate and/or future (if there is one) of the Emopulse Smile project, but we'll keep you posted as more information comes to hand.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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22 Comments

I like it, but it needs to curve more for the rest of us who don't have boxer wrists.

It also needs to be wider so you can watch content in close to 16:9. Or just face it the other way.

And with a matte screen so the glare from the curvature does not obscure detail.

To top it off, make it interact with Google glass. :)

..and and add NFC so I can use it for building access and buying stuff with hand waves :) :)

Nairda
19th June, 2013 @ 05:45 pm PDT

Its a Smart-Bangle!

No shots of anyone using it as a phone, I think if you forget your earphones your going to look pretty silly. And you're going to scratch it everytime you put your arm down. The emotional-music-app-thing sounds ghastly

I like the big screen and the casual photo taking position. Where's Leela?

Ozuzi
19th June, 2013 @ 05:57 pm PDT

2 days in heavy use or 7 days on standby? Forget the gadget, just market these batteries to laptop and mobile phone users! Imagine the motoring accidents if something like this is actually sold to the public? Bad enough now that people walking and texting etc. stack into power poles and other obstacles as they go.

The Skud
19th June, 2013 @ 07:43 pm PDT

I like that this is an excitingly different concept for a smart device, but I am skeptical that they can pull off so much hardware and software innovation. It takes years to create a good OS, and with the functionality they are promising it seems far more ambitious than ios or Android, not to mention the hardware problems in using things like flexible screens for the first time.

Michaelc
19th June, 2013 @ 11:39 pm PDT

I think it is really cool. I think Dick Tracy would be envious of it.

BigWarpGuy
20th June, 2013 @ 08:15 am PDT

Great looking device with great functionality... BUT... it will face the same, if not more, privacy issues as Google Glass. With Glass, you can at least see when someone's attention is possibly on you. With Smile, the wearer can be more stealthy in how they angle their wrist and shoot the photo or video. This will be true of ALL smart watches that include cameras that angle away from the wearer.

I have a feeling that smart watches and Google Glass-type devices will initially have use limited by then newly-enacted privacy laws, but a few years into ubiquity, the laws will be completely relaxed and society will just accept that we have ZERO privacy in public... or private. The burden of proof will fall completely on the alleged victim of privacy violation, and they will have to be the one to draw charges and prove the case... a whole new booming industry for attorneys. They'll love it!

kalqlate
20th June, 2013 @ 11:18 am PDT

kalqlate

You already have zero privacy in public, there are hundreds of cctv cameras and tiny spy cameras have also been available for years. Google glass and associated devices will just serve to make people realise what they haven't noticed. Google glass and similar are far better because they're being used by an individual that is present, not a remote non-human entity like a government, the overreaction to them is foolish.

cjeam
20th June, 2013 @ 04:35 pm PDT

This Phone is crack. I so want one. If its ever release, samsung galaxy and iPhone would have problems.

@DROID
22nd June, 2013 @ 10:10 pm PDT

This is like that watch from that Spy Kids movie, only this one is more futuristic and actually tells the time.

Propane_Man
23rd June, 2013 @ 02:14 am PDT

Yes, this will be a winner if they can pull it off...and if Apple and Samsung don't beat them to it, which they might welll do since they have _much_ deeper pockets.

The makers do need to make this lovely piece of jewellery fit the wrist better though - sticking out like that it will soon be smashed into furniture, car doors and the wearer's face etc.

Other than that, I'd buy one tomorrow.

dalroth5
24th June, 2013 @ 02:36 pm PDT

So when was it that Ben Franklin invented the sweep second hand? 1771 or so.

For 242 years having an accurate sweep second hand has been the mark of a fine watch.

Now it seems we don't need to be able to see the seconds?

Crazy man crazy! This is called retrogression.

How are you ever going to know when the stock market is about to open?

The handling of time in the computer age has been about as backward as it gets.

Bill

Lewis M. Dickens III
25th June, 2013 @ 05:26 am PDT

It is beautiful and has a much larger screen real estate than Samsung note Sony's. But the beautiful display can be a magnet for muggers!

Ewi Guy
5th September, 2013 @ 07:12 pm PDT

I hate to be the one to say it but this must be a scam. I would love to be among the first to own this, I have funded two smart watches on Kickstarter but this.....this gotta be fake, even if it is going for $550. The site to pre-order is very very minimal and there is no detail on the phone. Running OS that I have never heard of combine with crazy battery on ultra thin phone and curve display that even Samsung did produce. I'll just stop here......

phissith
13th September, 2013 @ 05:12 pm PDT

A company with a capability of making such a good interface should be having a great website. But look at Emopulse's website.. Not being rude, but something is wrong somewhere.

Nirmal Natarajan
1st October, 2013 @ 09:58 am PDT

Dick Tracy watch in real life.

HeyDad UncMarvin
11th December, 2013 @ 07:20 am PST

This smartwatch is a scam. Don't buy it! I, unfortunately, was taken and can't seem to get any response from anyone at Emopulse. The address is a PO Box. Now I must take legal action to get my $ back!

Debra Blom Millegan
26th December, 2013 @ 12:22 pm PST

It would be nice to have the laser projection keyboard built in as a feature on the watch eventually. It might be set down on a table top next to any of your blue tooth enabled devices and project a virtual keyboard.

Facebook User
2nd January, 2014 @ 02:47 am PST

Maybe there would be cool if you could use the watch as phone, that needs to be take off the wrist and folded apart?? And then you could use it as a "normal" telephone!!

Erik Kajtebriga
1st February, 2014 @ 11:09 am PST

when and where can you buy it

Lenn Burnett Jr.
6th February, 2014 @ 03:07 pm PST

will soon make the order..................i love it

Stellah Brivier
11th February, 2014 @ 09:07 am PST

this thing looks like the wrist thing that Leela wears on Futurama!

Ed
24th February, 2014 @ 01:22 pm PST

Sadly, this looks to be yet another bit of wishful thinking and startup overreach.

The website is a sham and has no practical info, typos, is so simplistic it appears to be built in two minutes by a bored elementary schooler and the links whilst appearing to work, do not bring forth any further information or replies to inquiries.

The Indiegogo page is now non-existent which only leaves one to conclude this entire article and its concept (at least from this developer) are now null and void.

Anyone who was duped into putting up money for a pre-order should look into the legal remedies for a refund and inform the higher-ups at Indiegogo as to this possible fraud.

Randall Vogt
23rd June, 2014 @ 11:58 am PDT
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