Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Shocker! Another Smart Watch — This Time, Casio’s G-Shock.

You have to give “smart” watch makers some credit: These omniscient, techie watches haven’t been wildly successful to date, not unless you’re in Dick Tracy’s fictitious world, and yet electronics makers keep throwing them out there to see what works.

Now add Casio to the mix of players. Nearly two years after the gadget was first announced, the electronics company has said it will soon begin shipping a Bluetooth-compatible version of its popular G-Shock watch.

The new G-Shock sends email and phone-call notifications from your smartphone to the face of the watch via a Bluetooth connection. It will also send an alert when you get too far out of range from your smartphone — an ideal feature for consumers prone to losing their phones.

The Bluetooth G-Shock watch works with newer iPhones only — the 4S and 5 — and there’s no word on whether Android compatibility is in the future. It costs $180, and is available through department stores and online retailers like Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, as well as the G-Shock Web site.

By now you might be familiar with these kinds of watches. There’s the Motorola MotoActv activity-tracking watch; Sony launched its second smart watch earlier this year (though I found it to be filled with bugs); and one of the most popular Kickstarter campaigns to date has been around a smartphone-connected smart watch called Pebble. (That watch, unfortunately, missed its scheduled ship date this past fall.)

What sets the Casio G-Shock watch apart is that it uses new, low-energy Bluetooth technology that’s supposed to be kinder to battery life on both your smartphone and the watch itself. In fact, longevity might be one of its strongest points: Casio claims the watch battery lasts for two years, assuming that the wearer is using its wireless connectivity features for 12 hours per day.

And, unlike some other smart watches, which can send constant updates or cram a ton of information into the watch’s interface, the Casio G-Shock looks like it’s keeping it simple. To put it another way, this one is a G-Shock watch, first and foremost, with a little connectivity thrown in.

I still think it might take James Bond wearing a gizmoed version of the Omega before these smart watches really hit the mainstream, but there’s no doubt that wearable, connected tech is on the rise, even if it’s in Bluetooth baby steps.

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