Smartwatches may have struggled to justify their existence over the past few years but they’re here to stay – the wearables sector is predicted to grow significantly over the next half-decade. Still, there are niggles with this kind of device which seriously need addressing – and one company has done just that.
The Matrix PowerWatch 2 has a colour screen, fitness tracking, GPS and water resistance, yet it never needs to be plugged in to charge – something most other smartwatches demand that you do at least once a day.
The PowerWatch 2 uses advanced hermoelectric and solar technology to convert your own body heat and ambient light (both indoor and outdoor) to recharge its battery, so you literally never have to plug it in to charge it.
As the name suggests, this isn’t an entirely new concept – the original PowerWatch made the same promise – but this time around we’ve got a full-colour 1.2-inch display, which makes a huge difference. The design is also more rugged and clearly positions the PowerWatch 2 as a rival to the many fitness trackers on the market from companies like Casio and Garmin.
The watch’s solar panel is located on the face while the back of the unit houses the hermoelectric array which picks up all that lovely, lovely heat from your wrist. In a unique touch (which some may find rather worrying), the watch is capable of telling you exactly how much energy it has gleefully harvested from your body. Yum.
It’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices thanks to its own unique apps, and features connectivity with Apple Healthkit and Google Fit. Water resistance goes up to 200 metres, too. The only negative is that the watch’s ‘smart’ features aren’t quite as robust as its Google and Apple-based rivals; while you can get notifications sent to the watch, you can’t use it to make calls, purchases or anything flashy like that. It’s aimed squarely at fitness freaks who don’t want to be bothered about charging their watch between marathon running sessions.
Given that having to plug your watch in each night is perhaps the single most tiresome element of smartwatch ownership right now, it’s easy to see why the PowerWatch 2 is such a big deal; this kind of tech could be harnessed by other manufacturers to take smartwatches to the next level. The only catch is that the device is currently in the prototype stage and is being crowdfunded, although with $317,384 raised at the time of writing on a modest $100,000 target, it seems like it’s pretty much a safe bet.
If you’re quick you can pick up a PowerWatch 2 for $199 on Indiegogo – the final retail price is expected to increase to $499 when the watch eventually hits retail. Units are expected to ship in July this year.