Timex targets fitness fanatics with first smartwatch

 The Timex Ironman One GPS+ ©Business Wire

The Timex Ironman One GPS+ ©Business Wire

Low on looks but high on features, the Ironman One GPS+ has a clever trick up its sleeve that could help it stand out from the crowd.

And that trick is that unlike many of its peers, it doesn’t need to connect to a smartphone. Thanks to a partnership with Qualcomm and AT&T, the Timex Ironman One GPS+ has built-in 3G connectivity. So rather than communicate with and via a handset — which can be an awkward thing to carry around when out climbing, swimming or running — it has its own mobile data connection instead.

The water-resistant watch can track your speed, distance covered and your precise location and can share them instantaneously via social media. It can also receive and display emails and messages but it can’t be used to make voice calls.

However, it can be used as a music player. There is 4GB of storage available for songs and it will link wirelessly to a set of Bluetooth headphones. And, in case of emergency, there’s an SOS button that will broadcast your location to a pre-selected list of contacts.

Although it has full-color touchscreen, it should have a good battery life thanks to Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology and processor expertise.

As for data, thanks to AT&T’s involvement, the first year of 3G connectivity comes free of charge, which could make the watch an attractive proposition, even if its design is a little overly utilitarian — there’s no way that this could be worn with a dress suit. However its chunky form mirrors that of other watches in Timex’s Ironman range.

When the watch officially goes on sale in the US this autumn, it will retail for $399, which will make it twice as expensive as an LG G watch and nearly three times the price of a Pebble Smartwatch. However, even with such a premium it could still prove to be a very good alternative to other smartwatches aimed specifically at the athletically inclined, such as the Adidas MiCoach.

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