Apple has had considerable dominance over the smartwatch market with its Apple Watch. Off late, Chinese company Mobvoi, which specializes in Artificial Intelligence (AI), has provided strong competition to Apple not only in term of smartwatches but also wireless earbuds. Mobvoi possesses an impressive resume with Google among its investors, which allowed it to offer a Google Assistant speaker called TicHome Mini in the global consumer space. Its joint venture with VW focusses on bringing AI into the automotive industry as well. Its 2016 TicWatch was a viral hit raising over $2 million on Kickstarter. On 24th October, 2018, Mobvoi launched the sequel to the TicWatch along with a cheaper take on Apple’s AirPods.
At an event in London, the company announced the latest addition to its smartwatch lineup – the TicWatch C2 (Classic 2). Its collaboration with Google enabled it to ditch Mobvoi’s own Android-based OS and incorporate Google’s Wear OS that’s designed for smartwatches. It’s equipped with NFC to support Google Pay, as well as with a voice assistant and Bluetooth. As compared to the company’s last smartwatch, the dual-screen TicWatch Pro, TicWatch C2 packs in a slimmer design with sleek stainless steel watch fronts and leather straps. It comes in black, platinum, and rose gold colors – the latter embracing slightly thinner straps to presumably suit female wrists.
However, the first launch of the smartwatch is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip. It misses on the opportunity to incorporate the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, which Qualcomm is set to release towards the end of 2018. Nonetheless, the TicWatch C2 claims a day-two life, a significant improvement over its predecessors. It also holds an IP68 waterproof rating which enables it to be submerged up to 2 meters in water. The soon to be archaic Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip might explain its price tag – which is currently at $200. Users, however, may be inclined to pay a slightly more amount for the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, which will undoubtedly have better performance and longer battery life.
An answer to Apple’s wireless AirPods, Mobvoi also announced the release of TicPods Free. The earbuds already raised over $2.8 million from Indiegogo – as the company typically uses crowdfunding to gather feedback and assess customer interest — and early reviews have been positive. Available in red, white, and blue colors – TicPods is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, as well as Android and the iPhone. They also include gesture-based controls beyond the Apple-style taps for skipping music, etc. The battery life without the case, which doubles as a charger, is estimated at 18 hours, or 240 minutes of listening time. However, a 15-minute charge gets you about 85 minutes of listening time. The TicPods are priced at $130.
While TicPods are available to buy online, TicWatch C2 is up for pre-sale ahead of a “wide” launch that’s planned for 6th December, 2018. The products are not only cheap and versatile, but also possesses good technological aspects that could hamper Apple’s products in the same domain.