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Autonomous Android smartwatch ships

Aug 8, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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Neptune’s Android 4.1-based “Pine” smartwatch is shipping to Kickstarter backers with a dual-core Snapdragon, 2.4-inch screen, telephony, and dual cameras.

The lightweight Android Wear may be the future of Android smartwatches, but those looking for a more fully featured Android experience — and who don’t mind alerting the fashion police — can choose from beefier smartwatch options. In January, we covered two Kickstarter-funded smartwatches that were unveiled at CES. The Omate TrueSmart, which had several months’ head start on Kickstarter, shipped to backers earlier this year, and is now available for pre-order at $299 to the general public.

The other smartwatch was the Neptune Pine. The 2,800 Pine backers had expected to receive their Pine watches in March, but the first batch is only going out now, with the second batch due in November. Those who want to wait for a waterproof version will also need to wait a few months. Non-Kickstarters can order a Pine watch for $349 for a 16GB version or $449 for a 32GB version, with shipments due in the fourth quarter.



Neptune Pine

Like the Omate TrueSmart and just about every other smartwatch out there, the Neptune Pine can be used as a notification device in conjunction with a Bluetooth-tethered smartphone. However, like the TrueSmart it can also be used in place of a smartphone as a fully autonomous Android computer. The Montreal-based startup calls it the “first independent smartwatch.” The Pine lets users make and receive phone calls and text messages, shoot video and take pictures, check email, browse the web, and play music or games, all without a Bluetooth linked smartphone.



More views of the Pine
(click images to enlarge)

The Pine’s specs do not appear to have changed much since January, although we have more details now. The only major difference we could see is that a previously tipped 8GB version with NFC is unavailable. The Pine watch runs Android 4.1 on a Snapdragon S4 Play — Qualcomm’s dual-core, 1.2GHz Cortex-A5 processor — accompanied by 512MB RAM, and 16 or 32GB of flash. The 2.4-inch, 320 x 240-pixel capacitive touchscreen is housed in a device that is 14mm thick and weighs 96 grams (3.4 ounces), including watchband.

Wireless features include 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and a micro-SIM slot for 3G voice and data. You also get GPS, as well as both rear-facing (5-megapixel) and front-facing (VGA) cameras, with LED flash available for both. Video chat is also supported, and you can remove the handset from the strap and place it in a camera mount or attach to another wearable strap to act as a 720p-capable video camera, says the company.



Pine detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The Pine is further equipped with an accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, and pedometer, which combined with an app can perform fitness tracking duties such as monitoring steps, pace, time, laps, and calories burned. Additional features include a speaker, mic, 3.5mm audio jack, headphones, and a micro-USB 2.0 port for charging.

 
Summary of Neptune Pine specs

Specifications listed for the Neptune Pine include:

  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Play (2x Cortex-A5 cores @ 1.2GHz)
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 16GB or 32GB flash
  • Display — 2.4-inch, 320 x 240 capacitive touchscreen with Gorilla Glass
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11b/g/n
    • Bluetooth 4.0video
    • Micro-SIM slot for quad-band 3G GSM and UMTS/HSPA+/WCDMA
  • Sensors:
    • GPS
    • Accelerometer
    • Gyroscope
    • Digital compass
    • Pedometer
  • Cameras:
    • 5-megapixel rear-facing with 720P video capture
    • VGA front-facing
    • LED flash on both
  • Other I/O — Micro-USB (for charging); 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Other features:
    • Speaker; mic; stereo headphones
    • Vibration alert; Android buttons; volume toggle
    • Two-tone silicone strap with metal clasp
    • Onscreen QWERTY keyboard
    • Android voice support
  • Battery — 810mAh for up to 10 hours (music), 8 hours (talk), 7 hours (WiFi data), 5 hours (video), 120 hours (standby)
  • Weight — 60.8 g (removable handset), 35.4 g (watchband)
  • Dimensions — 66 x 54 x 14mm
  • Operating system — Android 4.1

 
Further information

The first batch of Pine watches are now shipping to Kickstarter backers, with remaining backers receiving the second batch in November. The Pine is also available for general pre-order for $349 for a 16GB version or $449 for a 32GB version, with shipments due in the fourth quarter. More information may be found at the Neptune website, and the original Pine Kickstarter page.
 

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