(Phys.org) —The smartwatch as a killer form factor in computer wearables is still up for debate. For some consumers, even the greatest-looking designs will not justify the cost of wearing a general-purpose smart device on the wrist, in the name of hands-free connectivity. Josh Ong writing in The Next Web commented that "the geek in me wants to be excited about smartwatches, but I have yet to see a unit that dreams big enough to justify shouting down the pragmatist in me. The allure of getting my phone's notifications on my wrist just doesn't do it for me." What might do something to draw consumers toward the watches, however was made clear on Monday, when Nissan announced its concept device, the Nissan Nismo watch.
This is a smartwatch designed especially for Nissan Nismo vehicles. The Nissan Nismo Watch will monitor and analyze a vehicle's performance, a driver's heart rate and social media presence. Nismo is the motorsports and performance division of the Nissan Motor Company.
The watch signifies a break from the pack of broad-concept smart watches, as this device is a car watch with the specific purpose of connecting drivers to their vehicles.
With Nissan's Nismo watch now in view, it will be interesting to see if more industry designers and manufacturers start thinking about "car watches" as a custom niche. Gareth Dunsmore, marketing communications general manager at Nissan in Europe, said the watch integrates car data with biometric data, "plus functionalities you would expect, in a way you would socially share with your friends, through Faceobook, Twitter and Instagram."
The watch connects to the car's on-board system using a smartphone app via Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) A lithium battery will be used and charged by micro-USB. Battery life is said to be "over seven days" under normal usage conditions.
The user interface can be controlled by two buttons. The watch comes in black, white and flagship black and red. The watch is secured onto the wrist with a snap-fit mechanism.
Specifically, the Nissan Nismo watch will allow drivers to monitor vehicle speed and fuel consumption readings; access vehicle telematics and performance data; capture biometric data via a heart rate monitor; and receive tailored car messages from Nissan.
Monday's announcement of the Nismo watch was timed ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, which runs September 10 to 22, where the car maker, Japan's second largest automotive company, will show the watch.
Earlier this year, Nissan launched the Nismo Lab as a mobile laboratory that features biometric training tools such as brainwave technology and JukeRide - performance analysis tool, that captures biometric and telematics data from Nissan race cars and athletes during races.
Dinsmore said the watch will make Nismo as a brand more accessible. He said even the watch packaging was to reflect the Nismo experience, as it will be made using tires and rubber from the racetrack. "As Nismo is the performance arm of Nissan, we wanted a way of integrating Nismo's heritage in racing into this futuristic innovation."
Chas Hallett, editor-in-chief of What Car?, told the BBC that now with in-car Internet coming and consumer electronics focusing on watch-based connections, Nissan was "getting ahead of the game and joining the two together very cleverly."
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