Smartwatches

Olio aims for a more luxurious (and more expensive) brand of smartwatch, with the Model One

Olio aims for a more luxurious...
The Olio Model One goes all-in on design, though that cut-off point at the top of its screen is likely to be polarizing
The Olio Model One goes all-in on design, though that cut-off point at the top of its screen is likely to be polarizing
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The Olio Model One goes all-in on design, though that cut-off point at the top of its screen is likely to be polarizing
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The Olio Model One goes all-in on design, though that cut-off point at the top of its screen is likely to be polarizing
The Steel variant of the Olio Model One
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The Steel variant of the Olio Model One
The watch's screen gets cut off, near the top
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The watch's screen gets cut off, near the top
The Olio watch's wireless charging coil, on the back of its main body
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The Olio watch's wireless charging coil, on the back of its main body
The black collection costs $150 more than the silver-colored version
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The black collection costs $150 more than the silver-colored version
The steel version, with link chain
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The steel version, with link chain
Though it doesn't have an IP Code attached to it, Olio says you don't have anything to worry about with water, unless you're a diver
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Though it doesn't have an IP Code attached to it, Olio says you don't have anything to worry about with water, unless you're a diver
Steel Olio Model One with link chain ($645)
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Steel Olio Model One with link chain ($645)
Steel Olio Model One with link chain
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Steel Olio Model One with link chain
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It looks like Pebble wasn't the only company to come up with a past/future based smartwatch UI. San Francisco-based startup Olio has its own take on time-based wearable software, with its sharp-looking new Olio Model One.

Similar to Pebble Time, the Olio Model One is compatible with both iPhones and Android handsets, and runs its own time-based proprietary software: instead of just mirroring smartphone notifications, it organizes your day via past and future (or "earlier" and "later") alerts. The earlier stream contains your typical phone alerts, showing you anything you might have missed during your day. The later portion tries to help you plot out the rest of your day, offering suggestions to help you stay organized (things like muting calls as a meeting begins).

The company says that the watch will learn your preferences and become more useful over time, and also has its own context-based virtual assistant.

The Steel variant of the Olio Model One
The Steel variant of the Olio Model One

On the hardware end, the Model One appears to have a high-end aesthetic, with a stainless steel body and 1.3-in, 216 PPI IPS display. The screen has a cut-off point at the top, a bit like an upside down Moto 360 (only with an even more pronounced cut-off, or inverted flat tire effect).

Though the watch doesn't have a traditional IP Code (water and dust resistance) rating, Olio says the watch is "is significantly more water resistant than the consumer electronics IPX7 and IPX8 standards can test," and that it's been tested in water chambers with pressure ranging from 50-100 m.

Though it doesn't have an IP Code attached to it, Olio says you don't have anything to worry about with water, unless you're a diver
Though it doesn't have an IP Code attached to it, Olio says you don't have anything to worry about with water, unless you're a diver

Another similarity to the Moto 360 is that the Olio watch has a wireless charging coil on its backside. The company estimates "multiple days" of battery life.

If this sounds like the wearable you've been waiting for, then know that the Olio Model One won't come cheap, ringing up for US$595 for the silver-colored Steel collection (jumping up to $645 with a link chain) and $745 for the Black Collection ($795 with link chain). That's a hefty sum compared to most consumer smartwatches we've seen, but at least early-bird buyers will be in exclusive company: the watch's initial run will be limited to 500 total pieces.

The steel version, with link chain
The steel version, with link chain

Olio appears to be gunning for a higher-end brand of smartwatch: more premium than the $200-350 fare associated with Android Wear and Samsung Gear watches, but without shooting through the stratosphere into Rolex (or 18k gold Apple Watch) territory.

Proprietary software is always a hit-or-miss proposition, though, so we'll be interested to get some hands-on time with Olio's OS. It's also worth noting that we've seen some more luxurious Android Wear watches of late, like the LG Watch Urbane and Huawei Watch (though pricing is still a mystery for those two).

Those first 500 Model One watches are available for pre-order today, and Olio expects this batch to ship this (Northern) summer. You can get a closer look at the watch, and a glimpse of its UI, in the launch video below.

Product page: Olio

View gallery - 9 images
1 comment
Rann Xeroxx
Why the "flat tire" screen? Its the main reason I dislike the Moto 360, an otherwise very nice smart watch.