Mobvoi - a Chinese AI and smartwatch company part owned by Google - has just launched the Ticwatch 2, its first 3G smartwatch.
The device, which will be released in China only, is the successor to last year's crowdfunded Ticwatch and this time round features GPS and a dual LED optical heart rate sensor too. Not only that but the Ticwatch 2 will be priced "within the $200 range". In China the range of styles will start at 999 yuan and rise to 2599 yuan depending on the materials.
There's a built-in SIM allowing users to make and take phone calls, send/receive messages and use functions like voice search without a smartphone nearby. We don't have any details on payment plans for this yet.
As for the hardware itself, the Ticwatch 2 has a 1.4-inch always on AMOLED screen (no confirmed resolution yet), "quick" wireless charging capabilities and Mobvoi's innovative Tickle strip for non touchscreen controls, developed with Frog design for its first smartwatch. This is now hidden underneath the watch shell and should be smoother and more responsive.
The watch was designed by Scandinavian, SF based designer Mika Nenonen (Nest, Nokia) and comes in aluminium or stainless steel bodies with an option of silicone, Italian leather or stainless steel straps and sapphire crystal on the displays of the pricier models.
Ticpay and Ticwear
Smartwatch payments are coming "in the near future", as Mobvoi also announced that it is developing its NFC Ticpay service with OT and China UnionPay.
The watch runs Ticwear 4.0 and is aiming to make the most out of Mobvoi's voice capabilities. Users can now have basic conversations with its voice engine so as with Google Voice on smartphones and browsers, you could ask 'what's the weather?' and then 'how about tomorrow?' and the Ticwatch would fill in the gaps. Of course this will only work in certain contexts but it's still a great step forward for wearable tech interaction.
Mobvoi's software is already used in place of Google's voice and search services in China on Android Wear devices. So it makes sense that it's pushing its expertise in its own products too. There's also a Mobvoi store for apps.
If you're interested in the Ticwatch 2 but live outside China, Mobvoi also confirmed that it is launching an international Ticwatch this summer - we will confirm the specs of this when we have it.