Friday, March 22, 2013

Chinese company Shanda is building a Firefox OS smartwatch

Firefox OS Watch
Chinese gadget manufacturer Shanda is reportedly working on a smartwatch — something along the lines of the Pebble or the oft-rumored Apple iWatch. Shanda’s offering will be a little different, however. There’s a chance that the company will produce two variants, one of which will run Firefox OS.
The other Bambook model will run Android, as Sony’s smartwatch does (and Samsung’s presumably will). But with one of China’s other big mobile electronics manufacturers — ZTE — getting pretty gung-ho about Firefox OS devices, it makes sense to gamble on a companion device. China is the world’s largest mobile market, and there’s plenty of room for both Android and Firefox OS.
For Shanda, that also means there’s no reason not to give Firefox OS a shot on the Bambook watch — especially since the company should be able to produce a single smartwatch that just runs two different sets of firmware.
Like the Pebble, it’s thought that the Bambook watch will feature an E Ink display. The renders above show it in full color, and that might be a possibility. Shanda has previously built e-readers usingMirasol’s full-color, daylight-readable displays. Couple an efficient display with an equally efficient OS — Firefox OS doesn’t demand much in terms of hardware — and the company may have a winning formula for a smartwatch on its hands. Even if it has an OLED display on board, the Bambook should be able to handle a couple days of heavy use.
Shanda’s watch should be up for sale in June, and it’ll sell for just over $100. It seems likely that particular date is reserved for the Android watch as Firefox OS won’t be finalized by then. It’s possible, of course, that Shanda is going to roll its own software based on Mozilla’s open code. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing a Chinese gadget maker ever did.

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