Timex, the 160-year old watchmaking company, is planning to enter the reenergized smartwatch market that has recently been dominated by technology giants like Google(s goog) and Samsung.
AT&T(s t) announced the Timex Ironman GPS One+ on Wednesday, which will go on sale later this fall. Unlike other smart watches like those running Android(s goog) Wear, the $400 running-focused device will not require a connection to a smartphone. Instead, the GPS One+ will come with a one free year of AT&T 3G service to synch running data and for receiving or sending short messages. (Plans and prices for service after that haven’t been announced.) That means athletes equipped with this watch can leave their phones at home when out for a run.
Although the watch is Timex-branded, most of the technology behind it comes from Qualcomm(s qcom). The watch runs on Qualcomm-supplied Brew software and is powered by a Qualcomm chip. The display is a 1.5-inch Mirasol touch display,which promises the benefits of an e-ink screen — long battery life — but works in color. The device should run for eight hours with GPS on, and three days in standby.
In fact, the whole device is very similar to a device Qualcomm announced last year, the Toq smartwatch — which was more of a showcase for Qualcomm’s technology than a finished consumer product. Qualcomm’s demo product may have worked, because now it’s the basis for AT&T’s(s t) first smartwatch that needs a data plan.
At $400, the GPS One+ is more expensive than smartwatches running Android Wear, and is also pricier than other GPS-equipped sports watches in the Ironman line. In fact, it is twice as expensive as the similarly running-focused MotoActv, and that’s not even counting the cost of cellular service needed after a year. But with its focus on GPS and cellular service, as well as its use of Qualcomm’s unique technology, it is doing something differently and it’ll be interesting to see whether it’s the right product at the right time.