It was bound to happen. After the success of the Pebble smartwatch on Kickstarter, I’m sure that more than a few people over at MetaWatch regretted not having done the same. To rectify the situation, the company is now launching a new smartwatch, and this time it is using Kickstarter.
Unlike many Kickstarter projects, this is a desperate attempt to gain publicity more than it is a need for funding. Everything up to having ordered the parts needed to produce it has already happened, and MetaWatch have products out already, so it’s kinda obvious why the STRATA is on Kickstarter: It wants a small corner of Pebble’s spotlight. I guess I can’t blame it, the Pebble is a perfect example of a product that isn’t really revolutionary, but just happened to get so much publicity that everyone thinks it is.
As for the STRATA, it’s similar to existing MetaWatch watches. The new thing is iOS 6 compatibility, which I guess allows for better accessory connectivity than earlier versions (only took you 6 years, Apple). It’s water proof, has a 96 x 96 pixel monochrome display, lasts for 5-7 days on a charge, has buttons for interaction, and Bluetooth 4 for compatibility with pretty much nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true, it’s compatible with the ipad 3, iPhone 4S, and a handful of Android devices. The lack of a proper list of supported Android devices, as well as an extremely unfortunate FAQ entry stating that “It seems like most phones with an OS version greater than 2.1 should be compatible” makes me think that the MetaWatch guys don’t really know the state of Bluetooth 4 implementation right now. Compare that to the Pebble’s dual Bluetooth 2.1 + 4.0 support, and I have a feeling that the MetaWatch STRATA won’t be anywhere near as popular simply because it supports so few devices.
Still, if you happen to have a compatible device, you can look forward to…well, the kind of features you get on the Pebble. Sports tracking, notifications, alarms, music controls – you know the drill if you’ve heard of the Pebble. The STRATA doesn’t aim to be different, and technically MetaWatch did it first anyways, so in the end it’s all about choice. Choosing the STRATA will cost you from $159 and up, and if you hurry you can have it in September. From the looks of things, that may very well be sooner than anyone gets their hands on the Pebble.[Kickstarter]