Smartwatches that can display notifications, driving directions, or even web browsers are cool and all. But with a few exceptions like the Pebble smartwatch (with its E Ink display), smartwatches are just blank (or dim) screens sitting on your wrist when you’re not using them.

A company called Lonshine Technologies has figured out a way to build a smartwatch that can display notifications… but which can also let you see the time at a glance without pressing a button to turn on the screen.

The Halo smartwatch is basically an analog watch with little hands that move across its face. But there’s also a transparent touchscreen OLED display which can display digital data.

halo smartwatch

The transparent screen is a round, 96 x 96 pixel display with 8-bit color depth for up to 256 colors. You’re not going to want to use the Halo to view your photo collection. But you can use it to read incoming notifications for text messages, phone calls, or other data.

Lonshine plans to offer two different models of the Halo smartwatch. One is a companion device for a smartphone, while the other has a 2G radio so it can connect to the internet without a phone. You may even be able to use it to make phone calls.

Mobile Geeks got a chance to check out the Halo smartwatches recently, and report that they look like standard sports watches when the OLED display is off. Press a button to turn on the display and a Halo watch brings up controlsf ro a music player, stopwatch, and other functions.

The Halo software is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the watches feature a 300 MHz Intel XMM 2231 processor (which is designed for feature phones), 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a USB charger, and up to 3 days of battery life.

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4 replies on “Halo is an analog smartwatch (with a transparent digital display)”

  1. New technology of screen allow to display clock all the time and lowly consume power.

  2. That looks very interesting indeed. I have a great phone with fanastic screen for viewing pictures, movies etc. To get notifications, turn by turn directions, weather, altitude, reminders etc in 256 colours on a watch with the time always on in the background in analog mode is an excellent way to go.

    I can see someone like Timex taking this and making a whole range of watches with this kind of see through screen across all sorts of designs.

  3. the idea is good, it looks ok
    my only problems are that:
    a) i hate analoge watches (try finding digital watches in metal-cases/straps… horrible)
    b) i guess the battery-lifetime won’t be that good?
    but still, this would be an nice idea of kombinating an ordinary lcd-display that just shows time with a full colored screen that’s just enabled per button (and this would probably be far smaller then mechanical stuff)

    btw: i still hope people start to build E-Paper-Watches, i had tested 2-3 of those cheap looking thingies and even though they were horrible compared with kindle and the likes, it was by far better then anything most smartwatches offer (yes pebble too, since that’s just called E-Paper while in truth beeing LCD. I find that horribly confusing and would refrain from calling it so at all)

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