Victorinox and Acer team up on Swiss Army smartwatch
Smartwatches have already gone Swiss with models like the Breitling B55 Connected and Tag Heuer Connected, and now they're going Swiss Army. Developed by Acer, the new Cybertool brings some smarts to the Victorinox Inox watch, turning it into a Swiss Army smartwatch with classic analog dial. Add a couple other available accessories, and the Inox becomes a veritable Swiss Army knife for the wrist.
After rigorous testing to ensure it could survive virtually anything short of full-blown nuclear world war, Victorinox launched the rugged Inox watch in 2014. It now calls it the flagship of its Swiss Army line.
While Swiss Army watches aren't expected to be as inherently multifunctional as Swiss Army knives, the Inox is gaining a few extra functions through a new accessories suite that includes a paracord bracelet and compass bumper. Those items don't exactly offer the multifunctional credibility of a Swiss Army Ranger knife, but the new Cybertool brings a more robust bullet-point list of functions.
Victorinox has already used the Cybertool name – which sounds to us more like an interactive sex toy – for a line of knives, but the new Cybertool is a completely different beast. Developed by Acer, the smartphone-connected add-on attaches to the Inox body, putting an LED surround around the watch face.
The Cybertool includes a built-in accelerometer and tracks things like workout time, steps and calories burned. It connects to an iPhone or Android phone to deliver phone call and message notifications and offer a push-button "help" function that sends out an emergency message with GPS location to three contacts. It also gives you a "find my phone" feature, multi-time zone display and LED backlight.
With its TPU body and Gorilla Glass display, the Cybertool adds 24 g (0.85 oz) of weight to the watch. It offers an estimated five to seven days of use per charge from a 60 mAh non-replaceable lithium-polymer battery. It's not nearly as good in the water as the Inox watch itself, but it is listed at IPX7. The accompanying app works with Android 4.4.2+ and iOS 8.0+.
The Cybertool does a good job of updating the Inox Swiss Army watch with smart features, but it doesn't do a great job of leaving the watch's classic looks intact. The not-particularly-stylish accessory erases the Inox's rugged good looks like an oversized T-shirt on a shapely woman. The good news is that it's designed to be easily put on and taken off, so you can slap it on during after-work exercise and have it off in time for drinks immediately after.
Acer showed the Cybertool at Mobile World Congress this week, and while it wasn't quite a best in show, it is an interesting design for folks that want smart features but don't want to give up classic watch style. Victorinox plans to get it to market this summer (Northern Hemisphere). It hasn't finalized pricing yet but says consumers can expect it to fall somewhere in the US$150 to $225 range. It will release further details closer to launch date.