Geminii to Introduce Swiss-Inspired Smartwatch

Smartwatches are the new thing in technology, but the technology is still suffering from growing pains.  Companies are still uncertain as to which features they should include or exclude from their products.

Buyers are uncertain as to which software they should support (Apple or Android,) or whether they should buy a smartwatch at all.

Finally, the people who are most ambivalent about buying a smartwatch are the people who like traditional wristwatches.  Winning them over is going to be quite difficult.

geminii smartwatchThat’s why a Swiss company called Geminii is trying to enter the smartwatch market by introducing a smartwatch whose design has been influenced by Swiss luxury watches.

The Geminii is being introduced as the world’s first Swiss hybrid mechanical smart watch.

That means going with a tonneau shape, rather than round or square, as we’ve seen from most watches.  That means cleaning up the design so that the watch is something that you’ll want to be seen wearing, and not something that will look like you’re wearing some kind of odd box on your wrist.

Geminii is adding a few other interesting features, too.  They’re particularly proud of their charging technology, which they say will not require wires and will be ultra-fast, so you won’t have to spend much time with an expensive watch that isn’t actually working at the moment.

The Geminii smartwatch will be introduced with three editions – stainless steel, titanium, and black.  If their Indiegogo campaign reaches its funding targets, they’ll add a carbon fiber version, too.

geminii smartwatchFor those who like specs on such things, here are the particulars of the not-yet-on-the-market smartwatch:

Model: Geminii GLV-01
CPU: MTK2502C
Shell Material: Aluminium
RAM: 128MB
ROM: 64MB
Sensor: G-sensor
Bluetooth: V4.0
Screen size: 1.54 inch
Screen Type: IPS HD
Resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
Support language: English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portugese,
Russian, Polish, Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Indonesian, Malay and Thai
Compatibility: Android 4.3 & iOS 8.0 above
Battery capacity: 380mAh
Watch dimension: 50x43x16mm
Watch weight: about 70g
Waterproof: IP67
Activity tracking: Fitness, Running, Steps, Calories
Health tracking: Sleep monitoring, Sedentarity, Heart rate
Notifications: Emails, Messages, Apps, Phone calls
Watch faces: Customizable
3-axis: Pedometer, Accelerometer, Altimeter
Extras: Anti-lost, Music Control, Alarm, Calendar, Chronometer
Warranty: Two years

You’ll be able to buy several different models at the Indiegogo site, and each of them includes a carbon fiber storage box.  Funding level to start production is $100,000; they’re not quite there yet.

It remains to be seen if this will work out.  Many watch collectors are understandably wary of smartwatches, just as watch collectors were wary of quartz watches back in the 1970s.  This may or may not change, but manufacturers of luxury watches learned their lesson decades ago, so entry into the smartwatch market by big-name mechanical watch companies, such as Rolex, Omega, or Tag Heuer may yet be a ways off.

It’s going to be companies like Geminii that try to fill in the gaps and try to reach people on both sides of the aisle – people who want a smartwatch with good styling and people who want to buy luxury watches in a traditional style but might like some extra features.

We wish them well.

 

 

 

Useful Tool, or Theft?

Streaming TV has taken over cable or satellite for millions of people, and it definitely is convenient to go to Hulu or Netflix to watch your favorite shows when you used to have to pay a lot more money to get that content from other providers.

You’re still paying for that content, of course, and that means that the people who own the rights to that content are getting paid for it.  That might not be the case when it comes to TickBox, a new streaming device that doesn’t necessarily grab content from those paid sources.

In fact, TIckBox can seemingly grab content from anywhere on the Internet.  The $149 device is powered by Android and uses the Kodi application to let you view streaming content over your TV.

With this device, the makers say that you can watch pretty much anything that’s downlodable from the Internet.  It’s easy to hook up, with an eithernet connection and multiple USB ports, along with an HDMI port and an SPDIF output for digital audio output.

The TickBox also comes with both a remote and a keyboard.

So, for the most part, the TickBox looks a lot like an Amazon Fire TV or a Roku, or any one of a number of other streaming devices that you can use to watch TV at home.  What’s the big deal?

The big deal, according to Amazon, Netflix, and several major movie studios, is that the TickBox will also allow you to access pirated content over the Web.  While you can use the device to watch Netflix or Hulu or other paid services, it’s not required, and the TickBox Website even says that “we think that within a few days of using Tickbox TV™ you will find you no longer need those subscriptions. But you can add them no problem.”

tickboxIn a complaint recently filed by several companies, the TickBox is basically a device that will allow you to watch stolen content at home.  This includes, but is not limited to, movies that are still playing in theaters, sporting events, and who knows what else.

The makers of the device claim that they’re not actually engaging in copyright infringement, and that they’re just selling a device.  What the owners of those devices do with them, they say, is not within the company’s control.

That may be true, though courts have rarely ruled that way (except, oddly enough, when it comes to YouTube, which has a staggering amount of copyrighted material available for viewing at any time of day.)

There’s a difference between using your computer or tablet to search for copyrighted content on the Web and using the TickBox, however.  TickBox actually has a search feature that lets you search, for example, for films that are “In Theaters.”  That suggests right there that the device knows that it’s looking for content that should not be available for streaming.

Of course, I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t have a pony in this race.  It remains to be seen how this device will be viewed by the courts.  Still, it does seem to have a useful feature that other streaming devices such as the Roku or Fire TV do not have – the ability to search the Web for content.

Stay tuned, as they say.