MetaWatch Strata smartwatch looks (sort of) familiar

Much like the Pebble, the MetaWatch Strata is a Kickstarter project that connects with your iPhone or Android handset and alerts you to calls, e-mails, and messages.

Jacqueline Seng
Jacqueline Seng is a presenter/writer for CNET Asia, focusing on mobile phones. Her induction into the world of IT involved typing out stories on a computer in kindergarten -- not that much has changed.
Jacqueline Seng
2 min read
Strata smartwatch
We did a double take when we spotted the Strata. MetaWatch/Kickstarter

The Strata from MetaWatch is a waterproof smartwatch that connects to your iPhone or Android handset via Bluetooth. You can receive calls, texts, e-mails, and Facebook and Twitter notifications via the watch, as well as use the integrated running and cycling app to track your workout.

Developers can also use the open-source software development kits for the watch, which is listed on the crowdsourced funding platform Kickstarter, to create Strata apps and widgets.

If you think all this sounds familiar, that's because the Pebble does exactly the same thing.

You might be inclined to think the Strata is a ripoff, but there are differences. For one, the Strata will have enhanced functionality for iOS 6, on top of iOS 5.

Strata smartwatch
The Strata comes in blue or blue with digital camo, as well as in orange and green. MetaWatch/Kickstarter

Actually, MetaWatch has already been in the smartwatch business for the past eight years; its founders left Fossil's watch division in 2004. The company has been selling a smartwatch on its Web site, albeit aimed at developers creating their own apps and products.

MetaWatch has placed limits on the number of people who can back the project, presumably to avoid the same situation the Pebble ran into -- oversubscription, resulting in a shipping delay.

We still prefer the Pebble's clean design, e-ink watch face, and (slightly lower) price, but imagine that the Strata is probably more suitable for slimmer wrists due to its smaller 96x96-pixel display. Do note that the Strata sports a lower-resolution 1.35-inch 96x96-pixel LCD display, compared with the 1.26-inch 144x168-pixel version on the Pebble.

If you want a Strata, it costs $159 now, excluding shipping charges. It ships in November, after which it will retail for $179. In comparison, the Pebble is now up for preorder at $150.

(Source: Crave Asia) Correction, 8:12 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this story misstated the type of display on the Pebble. Both the Pebble and Strata smartwatches use the Sharp Memory LCD display.