Lenovo are one of the more interesting Android manufacturers and the reason why is partially because they’re not afraid to try something different and secondly, because they’re in the process of buying Motorola from Google. Lenovo (and Motorola if we go back a few years) have something of a focus towards battery life – witness the Yoga 10 HD+, which is an interesting device. It appears to take design cues from disparate devices, such as the Apple wireless keyboard, combined reasonable but not bleeding edge hardware and the same size battery as the Nexus 10, giving the tablet superb battery life. I am excited to see what Lenovo do with the Motorola brand and how they enter the smartphone market. Today’s article, however, is about their new Smartband, the SW-B100 but again they’re bringing something to the market that appears to have very good battery life.
This Smartband does not run Android Wear but includes a number of smart features. Lenovo’s website details these as including exercise, activity and sleep tracking, which can be collated and displayed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis using the smartphone companion application. It can also be used as a call and text message alert showing the number or name, plus it can notify the wearing of appointments or an exercise reminder. The final feature of the Smartband is the ability to unlock computers and devices by being in proximity, which is one of those nifty little features that is easily dismissed until you’ve tried it! You’ll need at least Android 4.3 or iOS 7.1 later in order to run the companion application, which we’ve not see yet. Nor do we know if it’ll run with Google Fit; in fact, the website doesn’t give us much in the way of detail! We can see that it’s going to be available in at least blue and grey but no price as of yet. We don’t know the size and type of screen that’s on the band but we do know that it’s designed to have a week long battery life and activity memory, just like the Fitbit Flex. The difference here is that the Lenovo offering does a lot more than the Flex.
It’s interesting how the wrist-wearable market is developing. On one wrist, we have our typical smartwatches and on the other, we have our smartbands, or fitness trackers. The Lenovo offering straddles these offerings, bringing a less sophisticated product to the market compared with the full blown smartwatch, but something that does more than the traditional activity monitor. The trade off so far appears to be between functionality, price and battery life. It’s a fast moving marketplace too; I’m excited to see what is released this time next year.