Halo looks like a regular analog watch … until you turn on its transparent OLED display

The Halo smartwatch is a concept device that’s very different from the many other smart watches we’re seeing launched this year. You may think that analog face is another realistic digital copy, but it’s not. It’s a real analog watch face, with hands that tick round using a complex collection of ever-shrinking gears. It becomes smart after you press a button on the side, when a transparent digital display appears, ready to be used with the touch sensitive glass screen.

Discovered at the Wearables Technology Conference currently underway in Taipei, the Halo is the work of Longshine Technologies, a firm which primarily produces hardware for other companies. The screen is a transparent OLED panel with a basic 96 x 96 pixel resolution, which is fine for showing icons, but probably won’t be great for much more. According to MobileGeeks, the low resolution is a limitation associated with using a transparent screen.

The operating system is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and Longshine has installed a selection of apps for messaging and music management, plus utilities such as a compass, and a stopwatch. Another version of the Halo smartwatch, called the Halo 2, shares a similar design and comes with the option to insert a SIM card, so it can be used as a standalone device. Unusually, the SIM slots into the clasp on the strap, rather than inside the body. It’s all water and dust resistant, too.

Both Halo watches are powered by an Intel processor, along with 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage memory. A Pebble-style magnetic charging port sits on the side, along with the buttons for activating the display. Neither watch looks particularly polished, but they are early samples, and will presumably be improved should they ever make it on sale. Sadly, there’s no indication this will happen, although it’s mentioned in the hands-on video Longshine would like to market the watches itself.

Until that happens, or another company snaps up the concept, the Halo smartwatch is an interesting look at how the wearable industry is still trying to solve the problem of combining style and smart functionality.

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