Kickstarter spotlight: MARTIAN
Smartwatches are coming out left and right, ranging in functionality from being slaves to mobile devices to being standalone units. The MARTIAN is much more limited in functionality than most of the watches that we hear about in media these days, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The MARTIAN essentially combines an single-line LCD display and a Bluetooth headset. Similar to the old Sony Ericsson Bluetooth watches, the LCD display works for simple things like caller ID. By also working as a wrist-mounted Bluetooth headset, it takes advantage of the fact that you can operate existing voice control software, like Siri, using a headset. The watch is then only an extension of the phone’s microphone and speaker, and as such, the functionality is whatever your device’s voice system can do. There’s also additional functionality in the form of notifications, a wireless leash feature, and the ability to accept or reject calls. Functionality will however depend on the device and OS.
I like the idea, and I have several uses in mind for such a device, but I’m not convinced that such a device can survive against the competition. It isn’t that much cheaper than something like the Pebble or MetaWatch, and while those are technical very different in functionality, they take up the same “slot” on a body and do compete in many ways. It’s almost as if the form factor hurts the potential user base, as some people might have used this in addition to something like the Pebble had the MARTIAN been something besides a watch, like a bracelet. Then again, without the LCD display on the MARTIAN, it’s perhaps a bit too similar to an actual Bluetooth headset.
Getting one of these will cost you roughly$100, and the funding goal is a whopping $200,000. Estimated delivery date is in January 2013, so by the time this is out the “wrist slot” on many mobile device users will have been filled by a Pebble or MetaWatch for several months.[Kickstarter]