CES has been a huge show for smart watches. I’m Spa showed off the new version its Android-based I’m Watch and Pebble held a press conference to announce that it’s finally shipping its watches. However, a little-known Kickstarter-funded company called Martian Watches may have the most interesting smart watch of CES 2013. Available for preorder in three styles with prices ranging from $249 to $299, the Martian Watch is the only device in this category that allows users to make crystal clear voice calls or interact with their phone’s voice assisant (Siri, Google Voice) directly from their wrists.
In a brief demo, Martian Watch CEO Stanley Kinsley showed how the stylish watch, which sports a traditional analog face with a slim 12-character LED below it, can pair with an iPhone or Android handset to provide wrist-based calls and voice commands along with email, SMS and weather alerts. We watched as Kinsley received a text message, and it appeared in the LED pane on the watch. To discourage drivers from looking at their wrists, Martian made the watch only display the first 40 characters of an email, so Kinsley connected to Siri on his iPhone, asked her to read the rest of the text message and spoke a reply.
Kinsley said his company put a lot of work into the Martian Watch’s speakers and microphone and, in our brief demo, the watch appeared to have excellent audio input and output capabilities. When he was communicating with Siri, she was able to hear all of his words and interpret them correctly. Sitting next to Kinsley, we could hear all of her responses clearly. The Martian’s steady voice quality stands in stark contrast to the unusable call function on the I’m Watch. So yes, you will feel like Michael Knight talking to KITT when you use this watch.
Martian Watch makes both Android and iOS apps that allow you to change settings on the wrist piece. In addition, the apps allow you to enter Camera Mode, where you can use the watch to control the phone and make it snap pictures of you with its front-facing camera. Third-party developers will have an SDK they can use to write their own Martian Watch-compatible phone apps. The phone itself does not have internal apps.
The company is accepting preorders now at martianwatches.com.