Home Asus May Be Joining The Edging-Away-From-Android-Wear Crowd

Asus May Be Joining The Edging-Away-From-Android-Wear Crowd

Asus debuted a new wearable device at Milan Design Week on Monday called the VivoWatch. While many of the specifics are still a little sketchy, a few details have filtered out via a post on Engadget—most notably its claims of a 10-day battery life.

From what we can tell, the VivoWatch is a fitness-focused wearable, but it sure seems to share a lot of design DNA with Asus’s other wearable, the ZenWatch. But based on the images and video that have surfaced so far, the VivoWatch runs some other kind of operating system.

See also: Hey, Samsung, LG And HTC—Shunning Android Wear Is A Huge Mistake

That’s One Big Battery Life

Posts published by both Engadget and Italian tech site HDBlog (the latter of which also offers some up-close video with the device) provide a few definitive details about the VivoWatch. The aforementioned 10-day battery is by far one of the VivoWatch’s most notable features. (I contacted Asus for comment on these reports, but haven’t heard back.)

There’s more. The VivoWatch will boast an optical heart rate monitor on the device’s rear, much like the Moto 360, G Watch R, Microsoft Band, and Apple Watch. Considering the janky heart rate monitoring offered by the ZenWatch (which involves holding two fingers on the device’s metal bezel, and which never seems to really work reliably), this looks like a big improvement.

The VivoWatch will track a wearer’s steps and calories burned.

It’ll also track a wearer’s activity—like calories burned and steps taken—as well as providing sleep tracking. For swimmers, or just us sweaty people, the VivoWatch will offer IP67 dust and waterproofing. Its touchscreen display rounds out the package.

All told, the VivoWatch sounds like a great new fitness tracker. But it looks a whole lot like a smartwatch.

Smartwatch Looks

The fact that the VivoWatch seems to share a design pedigree with the ZenWatch isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I own a ZenWatch, and while I’m not totally in love with it, I still think it’s the best looking Android Wear device released yet—not to mention one of the most affordable at only $199.

The VivoWatch is a dead ringer for its Android Wear cousin, the ZenWatch.

However, the ZenWatch just hasn’t been great when engaging in physical activity. It’s not huge, but it is a bit bulky. It clunks around when swinging my arms, and it gets pretty gross when I start to sweat. Seeing as how the VivoWatch looks simply like the ZenWatch’s little brother, I have to wonder why Asus decided to go with a slight variation on that design rather than going with something a bit sleeker.

Asus ZenWatch

Moreover, it’s a little funny that the VivoWatch doesn’t appear to run Android Wear, despite looking so similar to the Asus device that does. Asus boss Johnney Shih has said publicly that he wanted the ZenWatch’s successor to last longer and run on a “more simplified” operating system. That sure sounds a lot like the VivoWatch to me.

As Milan Design Week continues, Asus will probably offer up more details about release date and price. But aside from those specifics, the VivoWatch raises broader questions about whether or not we’ll ever see an Android Wear follow-up from Asus, or if this is yet another Google hardware partner looking to carve its own software path.

VivoWatch images screencapped from HDBlog on YouTube; ZenWatch image courtesy of Asus

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