The debate in tech between traditional luxury watches and smartwatches has some manufacturers scratching their heads to create devices that are “middle grounders” in the fight between old and new. The result, for some, is to create what many are calling “analog smartwatches” – smartwatches that bear similarities to traditional, analog smartwatches before the digital era dawned upon displays. While these smartwatches have the look of analog watches, they still perform like smartwatches.
One company, namely, traditional watchmaker Casio, is using its upcoming smartwatch, the Casio WSD-F10, to showcase its entrance into the smartwatch race. Casio, however, has been the King of analog watches since at least the calculator watches of the 1990s; if there’s one thing Casio knows how to do, making analog watches is the company’s forte.
With the rise of smartwatches, though, Casio is having to adjust to a new generation of watch wearers who want something digital and “smart” while still having a reliable watch that tells the time. How does Casio merge the “old” and “new” watch demands? By way of a new feature that I think every Android Wear and mobile manufacturer should copy.
The Ultimate Analog Smartwatch Will Boast the WSD-F10’s Dual-Layer Display
The Casio has the traditional analog watch look though it is indeed a smartwatch, and this gives Casio a chance to showcase how its WSD-F10 stands out from the crowd. One way in which Casio achieves smartwatch distinction concerns its dual-layer display.
This dual-layer display includes two screens: a color LCD screen and a monochrome (or one color) LCD display. As long as the Casio WSD-F10 has good power, the color LCD shows the time, date, and other features. When the power is low and/or soon to run out, Casio has set up its WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch to shut off the color LCD screen and display the time in the monochrome LCD screen only – which gives the smartwatch the true “analog smartwatch feel.”
Any analog smartwatch in the future that looks to create the ultimate analog smartwatch impression will have a display that reduces a smartwatch to an analog watch impression by cutting off all smartwatch functions and leaving an analog display with the time whenever battery life is low or critically low.
Why the WSD-F10’s monochrome LCD display is perfect for analog smartwatches
Yes, the monochrome LCD makes for a cool feature on the Casio WSD-F10, but why should all analog smartwatch makers implement it? The answer is simple: because the analog smartwatch only provided the time and didn’t operate with all the fancy smartwatch functions; why not reduce the watch to an analog when the battery is low?
Most smartwatches cut off the display whenever battery life is low. Everything works as it should until battery life is low. At this point, many smartwatches attempt to put on some “power saving mode” (to use Samsung’s label of its conservation mode in the Gear S and Gear S2) that disables nearly everything. In the case of Samsung’s Gear S2, the screen goes black and you only have access to emergency phone calls (911) or text messages. In addition, you can only access text messages and make phone calls outside of 911 if you enable Bluetooth in Power Saving Mode – which you can do, by the way.
With the Casio WSD-F10, you may not get the choice to keep Bluetooth, notifications, and access to phone contacts via calls and text messages, but you do get to keep the smartwatch on. Even after the WSD-F10 says “shutting down,” you still get access to the time and are not confronted with a watch that dies, sits on your wrist, with a black screen that can’t do anything. I’ve experienced a smartwatch that dies in the middle of the day; let’s just say that any smartwatch that dies while on the wrist doesn’t look attractive. You can’t flaunt a watch face when the smartwatch is dead and needs charging.
The Casio WSD-F10 gives the impression that it is a smartwatch that is “always on,” always working, always displaying the time. If a smartwatch will be any good at being reduced to its bare bones, it should at least tell the time and continue to do so. The WSD-F10 lets you keep the time on your wrist when you can’t do anything else. It is a smartwatch that still looks sexy, even when your battery life is at 10%. The same can’t be said for nearly 99% of all current smartwatches.
A number of smartwatch manufacturers want to create a smartwatch that looks like an analog watch. Casio still maintains its digital roots with a digital time display, but the company has placed some serious thought into how to make its smartwatch as much of a “regular watch” as possible without removing the smart features and apologizing for it.
The result of all its hard work is that Casio customers and nostalgic fans get to have that sense of completeness with the WSD-F10: it’s a smartwatch when you need it to be, and a digital watch when all else fails. The WSD-F10 doesn’t just become another dead, mobile device that doesn’t do anything – which makes it a serious contender in the smartwatch market. Casio’s Smart Outdoor Watch is the first smartwatch that will make manufacturers take the concept of the “old analog/digital regular watch” and apply it across the board to more than just the smartwatch form.