Amazon, in its bid to take over every aspect of consumers’ lives, launched the highly successful Alexa personal assistant in 2014. But Alexa has always had one major drawback to other digital personal assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant because you couldn’t take it with you.
That works fine if you want to ask Alexa when Thomas Jefferson's birthday is or to turn down the lights when you’re home. But how do you reach it when you’re out and about?
With that in mind, the Chinese company iMCO Technology launched CoWatch, the first Alexa-enabled smartwatch.
The watch itself is classically designed. The body is stainless steel and features a ceramic ring, and you can choose between black and silver colors. True to most modern smartwatches, it’s pretty bulky — a full 12mm thick. You interact with the watch through the AMOLED 1.39-inch touchscreen and the lone button on the side. The single button gives the watch a quaint minimalism in a field where smartwatches usually have two or three buttons.
The specs are respectable. It’s powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz and 300MHz mobile processor. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of memory. (Most other high-end smart watches have 768MB of RAM and 4GB of memory.) It also has most standard-issue smartwatch sensors, including a heart rate sensor, gyroscope, and accelerometer. There is no included GPS sensor, however. Despite that, it’s set up to track the most important health, fitness, and exercise data.
When it first raised funds for its Indiegogo campaign, CoWatch billed itself as the “The Most Affordable High-End Smartwatch.” There’s no denying that the original early bird price of $159 was a steal. But now that it’s moved past its crowdfunding stage, the cheapest version you can pick up is $279. That hardly makes it one of cheaper smartwatch options. For ten bucks less, you can snag a brand new Apple Watch Series 1.
CoWatch’s Innovative Alexa Integration
However, the real selling point of CoWatch is something you can’t get on the Apple Watch or any other smartwatch: an Android-based OS called Chronologics that enables Alexa integration. (Chronologics, incidentally, was purchased by Google a few months ago.Google Assistant directly competes with Amazon Alexa. Awkward.)
Chronologics sends your audio commands to Alexa’s web service and receives back Alexa’s responses. According to CoWatch, that integration allows you to remotely “hear the news, get the weather, check the traffic, order a pizza, control your smart home, check your calendar, track your Amazon orders, and more using just your voice.”
Besides that feature, the CoWatch comes standard with a suite of basic smartwatch apps, including an alarm, music control via Bluetooth, notifications, step counter, and heart rate monitor. It’s also reportedly compatible with all Android Wear apps.
Who Should Get The CoWatch?
For most people who want a high-end smartwatch, there are honestly better options for around the same price. You might, for example, be interested in a Samsung Gear S3 or the original Huawei Watch, which normally retail for $299.
However, if you have found that Alexa has made your life easier and don’t want to be apart from it, even when you leave the house, then the CoWatch might prove to be an essential accessory.