This week at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, Nissan will be unveiling the first smartwatch ever created by a car manufacturer. Nissan’s Nismo smartwatch will monitor and display key data about you, your car, driving conditions, and your social circle.
The question is, have smartwatches now jumped the shark?
The Nismo smartwatch comes in an industrial-strength container secured by four screws, which lucky Nismo owners can open with the included allen key. Once open, Nismo owners see a gorgeous, modern smartwatch in either a red, white, or black snap-fit glass-look band, with an integrated white-on-black display:
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The Nismo smartwatch connects to Nissan Nismo versions of many of its vehicle models via Bluetooth low energy (Nismo is Nissan’s sport badging for sport models).
Drivers can see the average fuel consumption of their vehicle as well as average and top speeds, and on the track, they can access key data about the performance of their engine. In addition, the Nismo collects biometric data about drivers’ heart rates as they drive and maneuver their vehicles, all of which can be viewed on a companion mobile app.
“Wearable technology is fast becoming the next big thing and we want to take advantage of this innovative technology to make our Nismo Brand more accessible,” a Nissan manager in Europe said. “On track, Nissan uses the latest biometric training technologies to improve the performance of our Nissan Nismo Athletes and it is this technology we want to bring to our fans to enhance their driving experience and Nismo ownership.”
Nismo smartwatches also connect to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, picking up new messages and displaying them. Nissan calls this its “social speed” app. In addition, the smartwatch receives updates and suggestions from Nissan about vehicle maintenance and care.
Just last week, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, with significant capability like a camera, activity tracking, 70 apps, a 1.63″ display, and an 800 MHz processor. But it’s ugly as sin, and it can only connect to Android 4.3 devices. Sometime this year or next — and possibly as soon as next week — Apple will likely unveil its smartwatch contender, the iWatch.
If it’s lucky, the iWatch will be as gorgeous as Nismo.
The only problem, of course, is the fatal one: Nismo is only for Nissan vehicles, and worse, only for certain versions of certain models. Which means that no matter how beautiful it is, the Nismo will never be a serious contender for the emerging smartwatch market.
But it is a very, very interesting gadget. It’s something that both Samsung and Apple will have to look at seriously in terms of design and functionality.
And it’s also a sign that smartwatches are so trendy they might just hit the mainstream in 2014.