Contrary to popular belief, smartwatches — especially ones running Android Wear — aren’t really totally dead.
While the majority of phone makers have taken a break from releasing new AW smartwatches and are focusing more efforts on releasing sportier, cellular-connected smartwatches that work independent of phones, the fashion world has basically swooped in to fill the void.
Case in point: Michael Kors’ new smartwatches that run Android Wear 2.0 and put style ahead of everything.
For guys, Michael Kors has the Grayson, which sports an all-metal case and a rotating dial for scrolling through menus. It should work just like the rotating dial on the LG Watch Sport.
Michael Kors says it’ll be available in gold, stainless steel, blue and black ion-plate, and there will be four different watch band options.
The Sofie’s more feminine design and pavé bezel is more geared towards women. There’s just a single button on the right side of the case (no rotating dial). It’ll be offered in eight plating and bracelet combinations and there will be seven different watch bands available.
Just looking at them from the front, it’s already clear the Grayson and Sofie are improvements over Michael Kors’ Dylan and Bradshaw smartwatches. The screens are now fully round (no more “flat tire” at the bottom) and they’re AMOLED, which means they can always display the time without you needing to raise your arm up.
Powering Android Wear 2.0 is a Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip. But honestly, you’re not going to buy either of these smartwatches because of its tech specs. You’re buying them because they’re fashionable.
Despite most of the smartwatch market refocusing efforts on rugged designs and fitness features,
“Michael Kors is about glamour, personal style, and living a fast-paced, socially connected life,” John Idol, Chairman and CEO of Michael Kors, told Mashable over email. “We looked at the market and saw a need for wearable technology that looks great and can be personalized to suit the lifestyles of our customers around the world. So we made the decision to offer glamorous, customizable smartwatches for women and sporty, stylish options for men, all with an emphasis on customization and social connectivity.”
Customization is another reason why you might consider these two smartwatches. The company says it’ll have an updated Michael Kors Smart Access “micro app” for Android Wear that’ll let you connect your Instagram account and select an image in your feed to convert into a watch face. You’ll even be able to apply filters to your select picture before making it a watch face.
The new smartwatches will be available this fall at Michael Kors shops, MichaelKors.com and select department stores. Pricing starts at $350 for the company’s smartwatches; the company wouldn’t provide specific pricing for the Grayson or Sofie.
By Raymond Wong