The current pack of smartwatches sure is feeling a lot more refined than what the options looked like just a year ago, introducing things like a common wearable platform in the form of Android Wear. But for all the advancements, certain things have fallen by the wayside, and one we’re not seeing on any of the models from major manufacturers is native cellular connectivity; all the most popular smartwatches still require tethering to a smartphone. Despite rumors about products like the Samsung Gear Solo, we’ve yet to see high-profile stand-alone smartwatches launch – or at least, not from the companies that make phones. But that’s not stopping other players from filling this gap in the market, and today watchmaker Timex announces its own no-phone-required smartwatch, the Ironman One GPS+.
The Ironman One may not be as full-featured as something like an Android Wear smartwatch, but it still manages to hit all the major notes: activity sensors, music playback, GPS reception, and basic messaging capabilities. That last trick it pulls off with the help of its own dedicated cellular connection. Full details on how that operates, including band support, aren’t yet available, but we know that the watch will ship with a free year of data service from AT&T for US and Canadian users.
One other notable aspect of the watch is its display, which is a full-color, low-power interferometric component, the same kind we saw debut on the Qualcomm Toq. Despite that move, battery life sounds pretty iffy, no doubt due to the influence of the cellular radio. With GPS and the cellular connection on, you’ll only get about eight hours of usage, while playing music brings that down to just four.
Pricing starts at about $400, or $450 with a chest-based heart rate monitor. There’s no word on when the watch might ship, but pre-orders are open now.