If you've been holding off on buying a smartwatch because the ones you've seen so far look super nerdy, then a new line of watches might be exactly what you've been waiting for.
Starting today, Finland and Dallas, Texas-based Meta Watch will begin shipping the Meta M1 line of smartwatches. While some people say devices like the Pebble and Samsung Gear look too techy to wear as an everyday watch, the Meta M1 has been designed with fashion in mind.
Instead of producing a "smartwatch," the founders of Meta Watch say they've made a premium watch that also happens to be smart. (Get the difference?) The Meta M1 line was designed by noted industrial designer Frank Nuovo and his Design Studio Nuovo.
"First and foremost, we want people to love META M1's style and sense of design," Meta Watch founder and CEO Bill Geiser tells Entrepreneur.com. "They should want to wear it because of how it looks and because of how it makes them feel. Functionality will follow, as long as the watch looks good to the person wearing it. What good is a wearable nobody wants to wear?"
The watches are constructed using stainless steel cases, with stainless steel or ballistic nylon lugs, as well as a variety of "high quality strap materials" including stainless steel bracelets, leather and natural rubber.
Led by Geiser, Meta Watch started in 2004 as the Watch Technology Division within the Fossil Group, Inc. In 2011, Geiser and a group of investors including former executives from Nokia and Suunto bought the division from Fossil to launch Meta Watch.
Beyond the design -- which is admittedly very masculine -- something else that sets Meta Watch's line of wearables apart from other smartwatches is the lack of an app marketplace. The watches come with a select collection of "services," including a relatively sophisticated weather feature that tells wearers the current conditions plus a three-day forecast. The watches don't have a backlight feature. Instead, one of the six exterrior buttons controls a top-lit light bar.
Unlike the Pebble, which deletes individual messages moments after they come in, the M1 watches can hold up to 20 notifications at a time.
Otherwise, the M1 watches come with many of the usual bells and whistles. They receive (but don't send) messages and notifications, and can alert you to incoming calls. They pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth and have a range of up to 300 feet. With a black-and-white LCD display, the battery can last five to seven days on one complete charge.
The M1 line is made up of eight watches in all -- three "Core," two "Color" and three "Limited." The watches don't come for nothing. Prices range from $249 to $449.
Make no mistake, though, the Meta Watch is not a health tracker. You probably don't want to go for a run with an M1. You definitely wouldn't want to go for a swim with one, either.
The watches also have some heft to them. The version with a stainless steel case and stainless band, for instance, weighs 411 grams. For comparison, the Pebble Steel smartwatch weighs just 56 grams.
For now, the M1 watches are available on the Meta Watch website. The accompanying smartphone app will be available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play in the coming days, the company says.
Now, we just have to see what Apple's iWatch looks like. It could be announced at an event next week.
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