More and more companies are jumping on the smartwatch bandwagon. Neptune Computer, a Canadian based startup, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Pine, a watchphone running Android 4.1.2, and featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual core SoC. On the surface it looks very similar to SGPAX S5 smartwatch which also features a dual core processor (Mediatek MT6577), and a SIM card slot, and runs Android 4.0. Neptune Pine, however, comes with features and improvements which may make the 3 to 4 month “kickstarter wait” worth it: a larger 2.4″ detachable screen, larger internal storage, dual camera support, a larger battery providing up to 5 days in standby mode, and an IP67 rating that certifies the device to be dustproof and waterproof at depth of less than 1 meter.
Neptune Pine specifications:
- SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual-Core Processor @ 1.2Ghz
- System Memory – 512 MB RAM
- Storage – 16GB or 32GB NAND Flash + microSD slot
- Display – 2.4″ TFT capacitive touchscreen with 320 x 240 QVGA resolution
- Cellular Networks (via micro-SIM card)
- 2G: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1700, 1900
- 3G: UMTS/HSPA+/WCDMA 850, 1700, 1900, 2100
- Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and built-in GPS receiver, with Assisted GPS
- Sensors – Accelerometer, 3-axis Gyroscope, Digital compass
- Audio – Speaker & Microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Camera – 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera, both with LED flash
- Battery – 810 mAh lithium polymer battery (Talk time: Up to 8 hours on 2G, 6 hours on 3G, Multimedia: Up to 10 hours music, 5 hours video, Internet use: Up to 7 hours on Wi-Fi, Standby: Up to 120 hours)
- IP Rating – IP67 (currently undergoing testing)
- Weight – 96 grams (handset 60.8 gr, watchband 35.4 g)
The 2.4″ screen may be both an advantage and an inconvenient depending on your point of view. The larger screen may it easier to control Android (e.g. typing on the keyboard), but it may feel bulky to some. The great thing is that it is detachable from the wristband, which is not only convenient for taking pictures, or texting, but the screen can also be used with compatible mounts, in order to attach it to your helmet. or clip it on your belt, for example.
The company made an interesting table comparing the Neptune Pine, to other popular (not-so) smartwatches – Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony SW2, and Pebble – which simply act as a smartphone companion, instead of a standalone smartwatch phone.
If we compare the Neptune Pine and SGPAX S5 which have closer specifications, the main differences are as follows:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual core @ 1.2 GHz vs Mediatek MT6577 dual core Cortex A9 @ 1.2 GHz
- micro SIM vs full SIM card
- 2.41″ (320×240) display vs 1.54″ (240×240) display
- Dual camera (5MP , 0.3MP) with flash vs single camera (2.0MP) without flash
- 810 mAh battery (5 days standby) vs 500mAh battery (2 days standby)
- Android 4.1.2 (No Google Play Store yet, but coming) vs Android 4.0.4 with Google Play Store
- Pine will be waterproof and dustproof (IP67), S5 is not.
- 16 or 32GB Flash vs 4GB flash
- Pine handset/screen is removable
- Pine price: $335 CAD MSRP or as low as $199 CAD in kickstarter + $15 shipping vs S5 price: $150 and more including shipping. ($1 US ~ $1 CAD)
- Availability – Pine: January 2014. S5: Now.
Development is basically completed, and production tooling and EVT (engineering validation testing) have started so that the production line should be ready in early December. They still have to pass FCC, CE and IP67 certifications however, which could make the January 2014 delivery schedule an aggressive target, if design changes are required.
If you’re interesting in the watch, you can still pledge $199 CAD (+$15 for shipping outside of North America) for the 16GB version, and $279 CAD (+$15 for international shipping) with early bird pledges. After the 500 pieces reserved for early birds, pledges will then be $229 and $289.
Beside the Kickstarter page, you may also find more information on Neptune Pine website.