Smartphones already allow us to wield technological power that would make my grandma's head spin right off her neck (may she rest in peace*) and iPhones and Androids indeed place the world at our fingertips. But what happens when our fingertips are busy? Like when we're pumping the proverbial iron at the gym, chillin' in the pool as the hours of summer hopelessly fade, feigning interest in a business meeting that would frown upon personal telecommunications activity, or on a date with a hot chick who just keeps waiting for us to pull out our phones to check messages so she can storm off and call us an a-hole? Thanks to MetaWatch's Strata, when our fingertips are otherwise occupied, global connectivity is all in the wrist.
Created to enable Hands Freedom™, Strata is a smart sportwatch that connects wearers with their iPhone or Android apps so they can see--discreetly if needed--calls, texts, workout data, email, Facebook and Twitter activity, calendar events, weather, and on and on even during times it would otherwise be difficult or inappropriate to use or check their phones. As someone consistently plagued by the repercussions of whipping it out at the wrong time, I for one can say, Strata, I smell what you're cookin'. And it smells even better than the giant peanut butter cup cake I ate alone on my birthday after my girfriend kicked me out for taking a Words with Friends turn during sexy time.
Strata supports Dual-Mode Bluetooth 4.0 connection to iPhone 4s, and Bluetooth 2.1 (SPP) connection to Androids. When phones receive a new communication, the watch vibrates as an alert, with a quick glance allowing the wearer to decide if it needs to be dealt with now, or can wait until later. MetaWatch heralds Strata as a time saver, phone battery conservationist, and successful eliminator of much of the--I love this euphemism--"friction" that comes with smartphone use. The Strata prototype shows hardware fully self-contained inside the watch's body, with electronics powered by a small rechargeable battery (5 - 7 day life per charge). For wet- and sweat-based endeavors, the case is 5 ATM water resistant.
Strata also welcomes developers. iPhone savants can use the Widget SDK to place quick-peek information on the watch, or the AppMode SDK to take full control and create a wearable interface for personal apps or services.
Watch construction materials include a body and strap of double injection molded PU, co-molded with a tough PC poly case. Lenses are mineral hardened glass with anti-glare optical coatings, topped with titanium finished, stainless steel rings.
MetaWatch's Strata smart sportwatch project has overwhelmingly reached its Kickstarter funding goal, but pledge acceptance will continue through August 20, 2012. For $159, backers get a choice of several Strata colors, including Black & Optic Green, Black & Olympian Blue, and Black & Tangerine. Higher pledge levels include a JTAG debugging tool, or a custom-faced watch designed, signed, and numbered by Susan Kare, a screen and digital font designer for the original Macintosh.
The MetaWatch core team of Bill Geiser, David Rosales, Mu Yang, and Siqi Hao comes from Fossil Watches, which they left last summer to pursue smartwatch development.
*Thankfully, otolaryngological rotation did not play a role in her passing.
November 2013 Update: The Strata watch exceeded its crowdfunding goal and is now available for direct purchase through the link below.