Vachen is a Kickstarter-funded smartwatch that aims to approach the market from a different angle to its competitors. The device is pitched as a traditional watch that's been upgraded to include a number of smart features such as text and email notifications, and with its traditional timepiece aesthetics, it offers an interesting, though not entirely unique take on wearable tech.
The smartwatch will connect to both iPhone and Android devices, and runs on Android Gingerbread. It's powered by an unspecified 1GHz processor and features Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi connectivity, as well as a 3-axis accelerometer. The display features the same size and pixel density as the sixth generation iPod Nano. Its TFT LCD single-touch screen comes in at 1.54 inches with a resolution of 240 x 240 (220 ppi). Vachen claims that the device's 700mAh battery will provide 48 hours of charge under general use.
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In terms of functionality, the device will display call, SMS and Google calendar alerts. There are also stopwatch, alarm, timer, compass, moon data and tide graph features, as well as the promise of motion-based control of smart TVs and other smart devices.
The company plans to launch an app store for the device, and the project's creator Won Rhee has stated that there's “an extremely high chance” that the watch will get Facebook app support some time after launch. The company also plans to add support for Windows Phone by August 2013.
In fitting with the watch's fashion-first ethos, there's a fair amount of customization on offer. Users will have a choice of more than 100 watch face designs at launch, with Vachen providing a free tool that allows users to create their own designs and upload them to the Vachen app store.
There's also a choice of four different cases for Kickstarter backers, with prices ranging from US$169 to $279.
With the increasingly imminent release of Google Glass, wearable tech is set to explode over the next 12 months, and it's likely that the Vachen Smartwatch will see some serious competition by the end of the year.
When it comes to Kickstarter-backed smart watches, one big name comes to mind. The Pebble smartwatch took Kickstarter by storm earlier in the year, securing an impressive $10,266,845 – a figure that quite spectacularly surpassed its $100,000 funding goal.
The Pebble features an E-Ink display rather than the TFT offering of the Vachen. Though the screen's 144 x 168 resolution is lower than that found on the Vachen's display, the Pebble's E-Ink nature means that it's significantly easier to view in sunny conditions, plus it features an impressive 7-day battery life. That said, the Pebble's display type does limit its functionality somewhat.
Though only Samsung has outright confirmed that it is developing a smartwatch, Apple, Google and Microsoft are strongly rumored to have devices in development. Apple's device, dubbed the iWatch, is thought likely to land some time this year, with rumors indicating that it will run on a full version of iOS, giving it a huge range of potential functionality.
The four different models of the Vachen Smartwatch are set to go into mass production this month, with distribution beginning in July. While it's clear that the Vachen Smartwatch won't reach the heady heights of the Pebble watch's total, it is currently on target to reach its $100,000 goal in time for the project's May 30 deadline.
Check out the video below for more on the Vachen Smartwatch.