Much like with smartphones, it seems as if Chinese companies are determined to win the race to the bottom, a race that seemingly dictates how certain companies currently conducts business. Two such companies are Oukitel and Bluboo, relative unknowns in the U.S. market but established entities in China. These firms recently announced the A29 and the Uwatch, respectively, both of which come in at under $100, but it sometimes pays to ignore face value and hack away at the layers.
Starting with the A29, Oukitel’s wearable uses Bluetooth 4.0 to sync contacts and play music from your phone, among other niceties. In addition, with the SIM card slot, you can make calls and send messages to your loved ones.
The A29 also manages to include a heart rate sensor, a pedometer, and a sleep monitor, as well as a 320mAh battery, which should give the smartwatch 150 hours of standby and four hours of talk time. Finally, the A29 works with both iOS and Android, giving the smartwatch flexibility that is still relatively uncommon in the smartwatch world.
Next up is the Uwatch, Bluboo’s upcoming smartwatch. Bluboo was shy at revealing what powers the Uwatch, though the watch has a capacitive home button below the display, with bezels refreshingly kept to a minimum. Finally, unlike the A29, which seems to run proprietary software, the Uwatch will run Android Wear, possibly making the Uwatch the cheapest Android Wear smartwatch available.
What sets the A29 and the Uwatch apart from the competition, however, are their attractive points. Going for $70 and $50, respectively, these watches represent how quick the race to the bottom seems to have been completed for smartwatches. This makes sense, given the relative lower number of components needed for a smartwatch as opposed to those needed for a full-fledged smartphone.
At the same time, however, people have certain prices in mind when it comes to products. With smartwatches, the jury is still out, since the category is still rather nascent, but people will surely be wary of the $70 and $50 price tags of the A29 and the Uwatch, respectively. Unsurprisingly, the question will be what Oukitel and Bluboo had to sacrifice in order to get the prices so low, a question that should have an answer since both smartwatches will be released sometime this month.
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