Analog and digital watches converge in the Halo smartwatch

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The Halo smartwatch is a very different concept device from the many other smartwatches we’re seeing launching this year. You may think of the analog face to be another realistic digital copy, but it isn’t. It’s a true analog watch face, with hands that rotate using an intricate collection of smaller and smaller gears. It gets smart after pressing a button on the side, when a transparent digital display pops up, ready for use with the touch glass screen.

Discovered at the Wearables Technology Conference currently underway in Taipei, the Halo is the work of Longshine Technologies, a company that mainly produces hardware for other companies. The screen is a clear OLED panel with a base resolution of 96 x 96 pixels, which is fine for displaying icons, but probably won’t be ideal for much more. According to MobileGeeks, the low resolution is a limitation of using a transparent screen.

The operating system is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and Longshine has installed a selection of apps for messaging and music management, as well as utilities such as a compass and a stopwatch. Another version of the Halo smartwatch, called Halo 2, shares a similar design and offers the option to insert a SIM card, so that it can be used as a stand-alone device. Exceptionally, the SIM card fits into the strap clasp, rather than inside the body. It is also water and dust resistant.

Both Halo watches are powered by an Intel processor, with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage memory. A pebble-style magnetic charging port sits on the side, along with the screen activation buttons. Neither watch looks particularly polished, but these are the first samples and will likely be upgraded if they ever go on sale. Unfortunately, there is no indication that this will happen, although it is mentioned in the how-to video Longshine would like to market the watches itself.

Until that happens, or another company grabs hold of the concept, the Halo smartwatch is an interesting look at how the clothing industry is still trying to solve the problem of combining style and smart features.

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