Aria allows you to control your smartwatch hands-free
May26

Aria allows you to control your smartwatch hands-free

A device for your device, Aria (“air” in Italian) is a clip-on band developed for completely hands-free smartwatch use. Compatible with only the Android Wear and Pebble Time smartwatches so far, the user configures Aria’s companion app to control the watch through hand gestures. Think finger tapping, wrist flicking, balling up your hand into a fist, etc. The idea is that gesture control frees up your hands for other activities. “It will make technology seem like a natural extension of your body,” states the company’s website. The most affordable Pebble Time option is expected to retail at $69. Because the band was initially purpose-built for this product, it connects directly to the watch. Android Wear users will have to splurge an additional $100 for their module, which also requires an independent battery and a constant Bluetooth connection. No plans for the Apple Watch in the works yet, which may either spell doom for the band or success for Pebble and Android. It will come down to product efficiency if nothing else. We have seen previous wearable devices fail due to lack of ease before, and the bands “minimal design, almost invisible” aesthetic does not make it an exception. Aria is scheduled to hit Kickstarter sometime in the next couple of...

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Pebble Time ships, backers reap the rewards of Kickstarter investment
May26

Pebble Time ships, backers reap the rewards of Kickstarter investment

The 78,000 eager customers that helped fuel the Pebble smartwatch Kickstarter to record numbers are finally seeing a return on their investment. The company begins its first round of Pebble Time shipments May 27 and expects “all Pebble Time Rewards to be manufactured by the end of the month.” While still finalizing mobile apps to be paired with the device, the company announced on their Kickstarter page that “the apps will work exclusively with Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel when they arrive on iTunes and Google Play,” noting that current apps on these platforms will still exist to manage original models. Pebble currently partners with Pandora, RunKeeper, eBay, and Jawbone, among others. Pebble Time connects with the user’s smartphone and features a colorful e-paper display (meaning you do not sacrifice battery life for aesthetic interface — it lasts for a full week!), built-in microphone, 64KB of RAM, and sensors including an accelerometer, 3D compass, and ambient light tracker. Constantly focusing on ease of use and information digestion, the product also stores as many apps and faces as possible — an important upgrade from the previous generation. Available in July, the Pebble Steel is a water and scratch resistant model made of stainless steel. The launch comes on the tail of the Apple Watch, notable in great part for its highly mixed reviews, as well as the LG Watch Urbane, deemed “wonderful but frustrating” by some. Pebble’s presence as an underdog and the smartwatch’s differentiating features (such as its retention of physical buttons in lieu of a full touch-screen face) make it an interesting contender for top dog in wearable...

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