Onyx to take on Pebble with the first E Ink smartwatch

Chinese company's prototype shown off in demo video
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There's a lot of wearable tech coming out of China at the moment and it's sometimes hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. However, the Onyx Sosmart smartwatch has caught our eye because we could have a genuine Pebble rival on our hands - and this time one actually packing an E Ink display.

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ArmDevices managed to get their hands on a prototype of the Onyx watch at the HKTDC show in Hong Kong recently, and their video suggests we're looking at a 1.57-inch display that will be a touchscreen when the finished model launches.

E Ink v e-paper

It's often stated that the popular Pebble smartwatch boasts an E Ink display but that's not the case. The Pebble's face is actually a 1.26-inch, e-paper LCD display manufactured by Sharp.

E Ink is a trademark for a specific company. E Ink displays reflect ambient light in a room, like printed paper would, while LCD displays a backlight. E Ink displays are therefore not as tiring on users' eyes as an LCD screen is.

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E Ink is used in a range of ebook readers including Amazon Kindles and models from Kobo, Sony, Barnes & Noble and, you guessed it, Onyx.

It's a technology that has been used in wristwatches before - from the likes of Seiko and Phosphor - but never in a watch that could be classed as smart.

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Hence our intrigue. The Onxy smartwatch may well be the first E Ink smartwatch to market, although a consumer model isn't expected until next year.

Technically, it may be beaten to the punch by the sort-of-smartwatch Sony SmartBand Talk, which is due later this year and also packs E Ink technology.

TAGGED Smartwatches

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Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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