One of the biggest hurdles that most smartwatch manufacturers are facing lately, is the price tag of the products they sell. Surely watches can be extremely expensive, but this is mainly a benefit that certain companies have after decades of proven quality. The smartwatch is still a niche in the process of becoming relevant, which will take a while before it becomes ubiquitous, and therefore, one company feels that it should start fixing the price problem.
Unlike the half-baked, it-can-sorta-do-everything Galaxy Gear, Archos’ smartwatch line is hewing more closely to the Pebble route. These Android- and iOS-compatible devices are designed to supplement your smartphone experience, not replace it. And so, users that buy in will have access to notifications (i.e., SMS, emails, text, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), media playback controls and, of course, a clock. What they won’t be able to do is snap photos on a low-resolution camera, talk into their wrists or reply to messages.
The cheapest of the bunch is Archos’ $50 model, a rugged-looking smartwatch that features a 1.55-inch non-capacitive, black-and-white, memory LCD and is rated for between one and two weeks of battery life. For just $50 more, there’s a color capacitive model that steps up the screen size to 1.8 inches (the same size as an iPod nano) and lasts about 36 – 48 hours. Fans of customization and the fashion-conscious will be glad to know the band on this model can be swapped out. And finally, occupying the line’s premium perch, at $130, is Archos’ e-ink smartwatch, which retains the same screen size as the color model, but with an aluminum-encased curved display.
The smartwatch line isn’t slated to launch until sometime this summer, but when it does, don’t expect all three to be available at once. Archos plans to offer only its $50 model initially, with its higher-end models to follow in the months after.