This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Nubia, the company that sells the Red Magic series of gaming smartphones in Japan, has launched the Nubia Watch smartwatch. To briefly explain the Nubia Watch, it has a large 4.01-inch AMOLED display, which is large for a smartwatch, and an eSIM, which allows for standalone communication.
The Nubia Watch's display is long and 960x192 pixels and can be bent at both ends to wrap around your arm. Typical smartwatch displays are square or circular, and the display content has to be contained within that area. However, the Nubia Watch can display content that extends beyond the display of those smartwatches. For example, it can display several days of weekly weather forecasts in a row, just like a smartphone, making use of the long display.
Although the Nubia Watch looks like a cross between a smartphone and a smartwatch, it's actually not a product that came out of nowhere; the Nubia α was released in September 2019 with the same display. When it was announced, the Nubia α also took advantage of its wide display, making it a new genre of product that was neither a smartphone nor a smartwatch. Nubia α's main body design has a lot of curved lines and it looks futuristic at a good look, and at a bad look, it gives us an unrefined impression.
Not only do the Nubia Watch and Nubia α have the same display size, but the basic specs of them remain the same, including a Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of ROM (no external memory available), and eSIM support (non-eSIM models are also available). In terms of hardware performance alone, the Nubia Watch could be considered a rehash of the Nubia α. However, Nuiba's vision of a new smartwatch is very different between the two.
The Nubia α had a 5-megapixel camera and motion sensors placed on either side of the display, something the Nubia Watch doesn't have. The sensor detects hand movements and supports gesture controls by moving the palm up, down, left, and right on the display. An app store was also going to be offered, and it was supposed to be possible to add apps to further enhance the functionality of the device.
In other words, the concept of the Nubia α is "a slim smartphone that can be worn on the wrist" and because of this all-new concept, it has been priced at 3,699 yuan (about 57,000 yen), which is very aggressive for a smartwatch. The gold-colored model was priced at 4,499 yuan (about 69,000 yen), and the company also aimed to go upscale. However, the response in the market was not so good because of the high price, the design of the body of the watch, and the fact that the app store was not offered after all.
That's why Nubia stopped developing a high-performance smartwatch and changed its direction to a product that can be used casually as a fashion item. The reason why Nubia Watch has almost the same specs as Nuiba α is probably because they used the parts that were leftover from the Nuiba α order.
The Nubia Watch is priced at 1,799 yuan (about 28,000 yen), less than half the price of the Nubia α. There are many smartwatches in this price range, and they are competitive in terms of price. It also does away with the camera and motion sensor and narrows down the features to include activity tracking, notifications from your smartphone, and mobile payments, just like a typical smartwatch.
While it's not much different from its competitors in terms of functionality, the wide, long display frees you from the "small screen" frustration of smartwatches, and while the Nubia Watch won't replace your smartphone, it does something that no current smartwatch can do.
One interesting use for this is to display patterns, like a bracelet that you can wear on your wrist. You can change the pattern according to your mood, display text as a reminder, display photos, etc. It's interesting to think about how to use it by yourself.
The Nubia Watch is a large-screen smartwatch that can be used as a fashion item, but at a reduced price than the Nubia α, which was designed to be a new generation of smartwatches. It will be interesting to see how it is received in the market. For the global market, a Bluetooth model without an eSIM is currently being funded through crowdfunding Kickstarter until late September 2020.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.