Archos plans to launch three different smartwatches this summer, with prices ranging from $50 to $129. All three models are designed to pair with an iPhone or Android device and let you view notifications on your wrist or control media playback using on-screen controls.
There are three models. The cheapest will cost $50, and it has a 1.5 inch black and white LCD display and between 1 and 2 weeks of battery life. It doesn’t have a touchscreen, but you can navigate through the user interface using buttons.
For $100, Archos will offer a model with a 1.8 inch color touchscreen and up to 2 days of battery life.
The $129 model is the best looking of the bunch. It has a curved E Ink display which you can view from just about any angle. You can also view it at any time — while you have to tap a button to turn on the display on the other models, the E Ink screen is always on, because it only uses power when the screen changes.
The display does have a fairly slow, and fairly visible screen refresh cycle. Every minute the screen goes dark for a moment before the minute hand on the clock changes.
These Archos watches don’t have all the bells and whistles you get with a Samsung Galaxy Gear or a Pebble smartwatch, but they’re also a lot cheaper than those devices.
Some models will have a few extra features including stopwatch functionality and weather forecasts. But these watches are designed to be simple smartphone companions not smartphone replacements. At this point Archos has no plans to open an app store or add support for more complicated functions, although that could change in the future if there’s enough demand.