From Smartphones to Smart Watches: It’s Dick Tracy Time- Neptune Pine’s Android SmartWatch Review

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Pocket-sized computers, video telephone calls, the ability to connect to world from anywhere – without a cord or cable in sight. It’s the stuff of ‘50s-era sci-fi or detective serials.

Like so much technology these days, what’s old is new again. Add to that the smart watch.

A host of companies are planning the release of watches that connect to the Internet – and bring the power of a smartphone to a wristwatch-sized device. The concept already has drawn ample comparisons to the watch worn by police detective Dick Tracy.

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Sony, Apple, even Google have announced or launched smartwatches. The Pebble uses a host of custom apps – a new category called “micro apps” – to maximize its functionality. Cyclists, runners, golfers and others can use the device to track performance metrics. Most interface with the smartphone to mimic features, like controlling music or other applications.

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Later this year, Neptune will release the Neptune Pine. Unlike many smart watches, the Pine will deliver smartphone functionality – without the smartphone. Montreal-based Neptune Computer calls the Pine the “world’s first independent smart watch.” The watch doesn’t pair with a phone; it is a phone. It uses a micro-SIM card to replace the smartphone. It will support quad-band GSM / GPRS / EDGE, 3G, 802.11 WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0. The price: Around $335.

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The Pine will have a 2.5-inch touchscreen; the company is developing a virtual QWETY keyboard. Make phone calls, send emails, play music and video, browse the internet and navigate with GPS. Pine also will feature a five-megapixel Recondite camera for photos and video, and will include a heart rate monitor, FM radio and digital compass. Running on modified Android 4.0, it will support Android apps, and may offer waterproofing and near-field communications.

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How or whether these devices will weave their way into daily life in the near-term isn’t yet known. Few are stand-alone devices, like the Pine, so they’ll be accessories that duplicate the functionality of the smartphone. For many tech-sumers, smartphones already have replaced the wristwatch as a timepiece. So adding it back in for Wow! Factor alone might not lure buyers. At least, early on…

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Yet just as the wireless phone went from being tethered to a car to mere ounces in a pocket, it’s probably wise not to bet against a fully-functional phone small and stylish enough to earn a place on your wrist.

Time will tell.


Jeff Zbar is a veteran technology columnist, subject matter expert and the founder of, a site dedicated to home-based business owners, teleworkers and road warriors – and the technology that empowers the modern mobile and remote workplace.

Posted in: Gadgets
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