IFA 2014: Asus shows off $199 smartwatch

IDG News Service | Sep 4, 2014

Taiwan's Asustek Computer plans to put a smartwatch on sale later this month for US$199 or €199, the company said Wednesday. In launching the ZenWatch, Asus joins a growing number of electronics companies chasing after customers in the new but as yet untested product category.

This is the ZenWatch, the first smart watch from Taiwan Asus that’s due on sale in September for US$199 or €199.

The watch has a 1.6-inch OLED display with a curved and toughened Gorilla Glass face and a stainless steel body.

It runs Android Wear, a recently launched version of Google's Android operating system that has been customized for use on watches, and has Asus-developed user interface elements. For example, the company has packed around 100 different watch face designs into the unit.

The watch is intended to be used with a smartphone, paired over Bluetooth. It has a number of tricks, such as being used as a remote viewfinder for picture taking. A ringing phone can also be silenced by covering the watch face with a hand and a tap on the screen will force the paired phone to emit a sound -- something intended to let users find phones that might be lost in the home.

In launching the ZenWatch, Asus joins a growing number of electronics companies chasing after customers in the new but as yet untested product category.

Many of those watches are due on sale before the end of 2014 and so are a major theme of this week’s IFA electronics show in Berlin.

At IFA 2014, this is Martyn Williams, IDG News Service.
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