Despite naysayers and critics, now that the smartwatch ball has started to roll, there seems to be no end to independent groups and small-scale manufacturers from trying to carve out a name for themselves in the nascent market. The most recent one that will probably hit your news feeds soon is the Neptune Pine which, in all honesty, is a smartwatch that probably isn’t a watch at all.
Given the novelty of the form factor, it’s rather hard to pin down what a smartwatch truly is. Some, like Samsung, Sony, and most fitness companies, would brand smartwatches simply as accessories or tie-ins to a more powerful device like a smartphone. Others, especially those with a more imaginative bent, prefer to see standalone and more complete devices. Just like the notorious Goophone, whose smartwatch we saw last week, the creators of Neptune Pine envision a smartwatch that can function without a smartphone. Actually, they envision a smartwatch that functions as a smartphone.
If detractors of the Samsung Galaxy Gear chide it for its size, they’ll probably be dumbfounded by the Neptune Pine. This smartwatch sports a 2.4-inch 320×240 resolution display and runs on a Qualcomm Snapdron S4. It prides itself in being able to run a full and complete Android 4.1, without the smartwatch-centric trappings of Samsung’s version. In fact, simply slide in a micro SIM card and you have an extra small smartphone in your hands. It even has two cameras, one for taking photos and one for video calls, each with its own LED flash. This is an Android pager with a wrist holster. Or the smallest touchscreen Android smartphone with a wrist strap accessory. Call it what you want, but calling it a smartwatch might be a disservice and almost a lie. Of course, it tells time too, but so does every Android lockscreen in existence. Here’s a video of the Neptune Pine Kickstarter pitch which details the motivation for the device.
To be fair, Neptune, the company behind the Pine, isn’t asking Kickstarter backers to fund the whole manufacturing cost. Funds will go towards smaller expenses, like ordering bill of materials, certifications, and others. If this is your kind of smartwatch, and admittedly it is intriguing, hilarious, and perplexing all at the same time, then a pledge of $199 or higher will reward you with a 16 GB model of the Neptune Pine.