With all the fuss about the Apple Watch, many may have forgotten that it is not the end-all and be-all of wearables. It’s only “water-resistant” — so if you’re a swimmer or big on water sports in general, using one to monitor your workouts is giant, expensive “no.” (Also, don’t forget to take it off before you shower.)
No Wild Water Kingdom for you, iWatch. That’s the domain of Swimmo, the smartwatch designed for swimmers.
First, it’s 100 percent waterproof. As for usability, the Swimmo Trainer Company designed its flagship product to be “water-oriented,” addressing the problems that arise when trying to use traditional touchscreen smart devices when wet. Ever hidden under an awning to use your phone during the rain? Then you may have noticed touchscreens can lose precision when splattered with water. The Swimmo avoids this by using simple wrist-twist movement and screen taps, dubbed “Rotate and Tap,” to navigate the interface.
Swimmo comes with a 1.29-inch screen that displays calories, heart rate, activity duration, and distance, including laps and turns. If Swimmo makes its $100,000 stretch goal on Kickstarter, stroke count, length, and pacing will also be added within the device’s Pro Stats. All stats can be viewed in real-time, as well as uploaded to your phone when you’re done swimming. Obviously, this smartwatch was designed to be used independently of a smartphone; it’s doubtful the new Galaxy or iPhone will last long in the pool. Your phone doesn’t even need to be nearby, so you can keep it in your locker or leave it at home.
The data informs IntensityCoach, PaceKeeper, and TrainingGuide, Swimmo’s internal and trademarked stat measurement features. IntensityCoach monitors your heart rate and keeps it in the desired range. PaceKeeper does the same for your pace, alerting you via vibration if you’re over-doing it or if your speed slips. TrainingGuide allows you to set your own goals, like distance or calories, and monitors them for you. It’ll let you know immediately when you beat your own records.
You can view a full log of your workout data on your phone, as well as share and challenge others. Imagine if the guy in the lane next to you also had a Swimmo; you could challenge each other without needing a third person with a stopwatch to keep things honest.
Once you’re done, of course the Swimmo smartwatch syncs with the crème of the social and fitness app crop: Strava, RunKeeper, HealthKit, Facebook, and Twitter, so far. MapMyFitness, Swim.com, and Endomondo may be added as a $75,000 stretch goal. In addition, the Swimmo is calibrated for pools at the moment; Open Water water mode is a $150,000 stretch goal, which uses existing data to measure your movements to negate GPS connection problems when swimming in lakes or oceans.
Swimmo has surpassed its main funding goal, but the first stretch goal is to add two more color options, all black and all white if it hits $60,000. The $149 early bird specials are all backed, but for $169 you get a watch and free shipping, which is $60 off the $230 retail. Keep watching the company’s Kickstarter page for updates.