The makers of the stand-alone smartwatch Neptune Pine are back in the mix with a new wearable computer that uses a smartphone, but only as an interface.
The Neptune Duo features a Hub, a bangle style wearable computer, will allow users to make calls and text messages, check into various social networking sites, track fitness data, and more from their wrist. The companion “Pocket” screen, which looks like a smartphone, acts as a keyboard, track pad or monitor.
You can reserve the set today with a variety of payment options ranging from zero down and $798 at shipment, to $199 down and $399 at shipment. The more you put down, the bigger the savings. You can also pre order the Duo for a full up-front payment of $498.
The Neptune Duo’s creator, 20-year-old Simon Tian, tells Engadget that the purpose of the set is to “evolve our relationship with wearables.” Why settle for a smartwatch with limited capabilities when you can make it your main device and use a second screen to interact more conveniently?
The Hub includes a 2.4-inch capacity touch screen. It will house a quad-core processor with 64GB onboard storage, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and GPS. It will support 3G and 4G LTE, as well as 802.11 Wi-Fi connectivity. It also includes a speaker, microphone, and vibration monitor, as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope, and digital compass.
The Duo runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop.
The Pocket is a second screen interface with a five-inch 1280 x 720 HD resolution display. It features an 8 MP rear-facing camera with LED flash and a 2 MP front-facing camera with It has a port for headphones, and also includes a speaker, microphone, and vibration monitor, as well as an accelerometer and gyroscope.
It will allow users to type messages with a larger keyboard, interact with data sent from the Hub, play videos, and other activities that a larger screen is useful for. The Pocket is interchangeable. You could even borrow someone else’s if yours is not nearby.
The Pocket also doubles as a battery pack. If the Hub runs low on juice, the Pocket will be able to recharge it. The developers claim the Duo will be able to last a few days of normal use on a single charge.
While the Duo seems like something the average consumer isn’t ready for (the bangle style Hub looks bulky and awkward), the concept makes sense. If we are moving toward wearable computing in general, this combo is definitely the start of a new era.
Smartwatches are just too small to perform all activities, but having a second screen for certain interactions could make the process easier. I just wish the Hub wasn’t so big and uncomfortable looking.