Posted By Simon Montford on March 31, 2015
The sleek looking Olio is the work of a former HP and Apple product designer Steven Jacobs. Like a growing number of newly released smartwatches, it apes the appearance of a conventional timepiece. This is because the team at Olio Devices chose to utilise high quality materials, instead of the usual plastic or rubber that's so frequently used by other wearable OEMs.
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The UI is specific to the watch, so unlike the Apple Watch or Android Wear-compatible devices, it cannot run apps. This will almost certainly be a problem for many, however, the Olio is clearly aimed at a niche audience of potential customers who are looking for something a little different.
Apart from this, the stylish smartwatch is plenty capable. It's compatible with both Android and iOS phones, and has a beautifully simple UI, that was apparently inspired by how President Obama manages his "in box". It works via a simple "Yes", "No", "Maybe" system that prevents the user from getting cognitive overload from too many notifications. In addition, it uses a series of lines to indicate what requires attention. This keeps the dial clean, elegant and clutter-free.
Another nice feature is that all the data is stored in the cloud, so if the watch is lost or stolen, everything is automatically backed up.
Apart from the Apple Watch, the Olio's other direct competitor is the Pebble Time, which recently broke crowdfunding records by attracting over $20 million worth of pre-orders and donations on Kickstarter.
The smartwatch market is becoming increasingly crowded, and it is estimated that well over 200 million units will have been sold by 2020. This is fantastic for both consumer choice, and innovation in general, but it will be hard for small independent OEMs to keep up.
The Olio's estimated shipping date is July/August 2015. It is available for pre-order now in steel or black, and prices start at $595 (£400).
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