May 22, 2013
Agent Smartwatch To Ship In December, Features Ultra-Long Battery Life
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
While the big tech titans are almost all rumored to be playing around with the idea of building their own smartwatches, several smaller, independent companies are already selling their versions of the devices to eager technophiles and Dick Tracey fans.CooKoo and Pebble have both begun hawking their smartwatches on Kickstarter, and each has garnered their own swell of anticipation over their wearable devices. Now, another smartwatch is angling for a piece of a market, which is still in its infancy and is still dominated by the little guys.
The Agent timepiece looks like a smartwatch and acts like a smartwatch. It tells time, displays incoming calls and messages, measures the distance you run and controls your music. While it´s mostly like the other smartwatches out there, and works with both Android and iPhones, the Agent aims to separate itself from the crowd with a long-lasting battery and “trend setting design.”
Secret Labs, the maker of the Agent smartwatch, claim this wrist piece will get seven days of battery life when paired with Bluetooth. If you decide to use the device solely as a watch, the battery should last up to 30 days. You´ll always know when the battery is getting low, as the power-draining Bluetooth link will shut off once the battery is at ten percent, switching it into watch-face only mode.
To achieve this laudable battery life, the Agent packs in two processors and some precision power metering. According to Secret Labs´ Kickstarter page, the smartwatches are programmed to sleep as much as possible to preserve battery life. Yet when these devices are awakened from their slumber, they´re often asked to perform some tasks which might tax their little processors. To keep the main processor from waking up too often, the Agent uses a second processor to handle more of the day-to-day housekeeping chores of a smartwatch.
Each processor has also been designed to sip power at a conservative pace. The main ARM Cortex-M4 processor uses only 33Î¼A (or microamperes) while in sleep mode — significantly less than other smartwatch processors which use around 300Î¼A in sleep mode, according to Secret Labs. The secondary processor uses even less power, around 0.1Î¼A in sleep mode.
And Secret Labs has made it possible for developers to take advantage of tools for building battery-friendly apps. When it´s time to charge, the Agent is gently placed on a Qi wireless charging station. The Secret Labs team says they´re not “big fans” of proprietary cables, so they´ve outfitted their Qi charging station with a simple MicroUSB cord. Agent owners can bring their own Qi chargers to the party if they like or pay a premium to get one from Secret Labs. These chargers will cost an additional $30 when purchased through the Kickstarter campaign.
Secret Labs also partnered with New York Watch makers House of Horology to build a “fashion-forward” wristwatch meant to look good when dressing up or dressing down. As with other smartwatches (and the iPod Nano when worn as a watch), the face can be changed with a push of a button. Additionaly watch faces will be available for download as well.
The Agent campaign is running now and will end on the afternoon of July 20. At the time of this writing, all of the early-bird packages at $129 have already been sold, though there are plenty watch-only packages left at the $149 level. These backers should receive their Agent this December as will backers who pay $179 to receive a Qi charger along with their watch.