It costs less than $150. Its battery lasts more than a day. It works with either Android or iOS devices and functions anywhere in the world. It was launched on Kickstarter, where it met its funding goal in record time.

Up until yesterday, if you said all that, you could only have been talking about a Pebble smartwatch, first introduced on Kickstarter in 2012. Unlike the Android Wear and Apple Watches that came later, the Pebble doesn't have fancy touchscreen. Instead, it uses e-paper technology and clever button configuration to give users an always-on watch with long battery life and a low price tag--the first-generation Pebble sold on Kickstarter for only $150. Since then, more than a million Pebble smartwatches have been sold.

For most of that time it was the only smartwatch that iPhone users could wear. Even though the Apple Watch recently lowered its price, it was still the only one they can buy for less than $300. That all changed when Google-backed Beijing company Mobvoi introduced the Ticwatch 2. Its original Ticwatch is selling well in China and with Ticwatch 2, Mobvoi is branching out to the rest of the world. 

GPS, accelerometer, and a voice assistant.

I love my Pebble Time Steel, but the Ticwatch 2 has some impressive features for its low price. It has both a GPS and heart rate monitor for workouts, 4GB of storage for music, and perhaps most important, a microphone and speaker. Its operating system is built on Android and compatible with Android Wear. That means you can use the watch as a simplified version of Google Now, asking it for the weather or nearby restaurant choices, and it will answer you out loud so you don't have to peer at your watch face. If you're a fan of Dick Tracy, you can also make phone calls and speak into your watch instead of pulling your phone out of your pocket.

Pebble may have done well on Kickstarter, but Ticwatch 2 has done phenomenally​ well, reaching its funding goals within a mere 10 minutes of launch. Funding has gone up by more than $10,000 to $285,000 in the time it's taken me to write this post and will likely be over $300,000 by the time you read it. 

The company started out with a $99 special for early backers, but that deal sold out quickly. You can still get the Ticwatch 2 for $139, but only if you hurry. Mobvoi says the watches will begin shipping in September. 

If you get one, let me know what you think of it. I have to admit, I'm tempted.

Published on: Jul 27, 2016
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