The line between smart phones and wearables is becoming increasingly blurred. The new Magellan Echo smart watch allows you to control fitness apps not only on your smart phone, but also on your smart watch.
Magellan, subsidiary of the MITAC International Corporation (MIC), just announced additional sporting applications becoming available to the industry’s first running smart watch, the Echo, that enables fitness apps to be accessible directly on your smart watch display. The company has been manufacturing a range of GPS electronic devices for decades, including its award-winning Magellan Roadmate® portable car navigation products, as well as handheld navigation devices. The Echo, however, is different from Magellan’s other GPS products.
“It’s been four years since our team started to look for an opportunity in the wearable fitness market. As this was a new challenge for us, we had to talk with experts in the industry, app developers, and fitness wearable customers to understand the market and customer needs.”
said Anthony Lim, Senior Manager of Systems Engineering at MIC, in an interview with us.
With the Echo watch, users can check fitness data such as pace, distance and heart rate on the watch display instead of using their smart phones. It also includes other smart phone features like displaying messages and music player controls. Lim stated that Echo is different from other wearable fitness watches on the market.
“The wearable space is big, and it’s not just about one thing. This blurs the line between smart phones and wearables which we wanted to take advantage of. Echo is based on both existing technology like smart phone apps and the fact that fitness users don’t want to take their smart phones out of their pockets while running.”
Though the main idea of the Echo was to serve as a running smart watch companion, it is superior to smart phones in terms of battery life. A regular coin cell battery (CR 2032) keeps the Echo running for anything between six to eleven months without having to recharge it. This is a major difference compared to rest of the wearables market, where most activity trackers and watches require users to re-charge their gadget minimum on a weekly basis.
“Choosing the right microcontroller was critical for providing customer with the best user experience and convenience. Our goal was to make the coin cell battery last as long as possible so that our customers need not change it often. Echo has a complex design with multiple functions that require a lot of energy. That’s why we chose a 32-bit EFM32 MCU with Cortex-M3 CPU so that we didn’t have to compromise any of the targets.”
Lim’s team achieved low power throughout the watch’s operation by optimizing five different energy modes available in the EFM32 Gecko MCU. The team was also able to reduce the actual implementation time by using the Simplicity Studio software tool, which helped them to keep track of and reach current consumption targets in real-time.
Being an open platform, the Echo just added new apps like Golf Pad, FreeCaddie and AllTrails in addition to its initial running app support, and Anthony Lim hopes to see more users communicating with their watches through the Echo‘s bluetooth smart technology while they enjoy outdoor activities like golfing, mountain climbing or skiing.
Going to 2014 CES in Las Vegas? You can try the Echo smart watch at Magellan’s booth in South Hall 2.
Watch how Echo works in this video:
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