The World's First Wearable Smartphone Is Absolutely Not A Smartwatch

By Brad Nash
28 February 2019
Watches, Smartphones
Credit: Nubia Alpha
Ambitious start-up Nubia Alpha has an entirely new level of wearable in mind

Despite the relatively shaky start that wearable tech had up until the advent of the Apple Watch, regardless it seems to have weaseled its way into the mainstream so subtle-y that we don't even realise just how many people actually own smart watches any more.

They're a multi-billion dollar industry, with brands like Google, Samsung and Apple all engaged in a frantic race to dominate a market that's as lucrative as the smartphone arena was back at the turn of the decade.

However, one ambitious start-up has an entirely new level of wearable in mind, and they hope to break new ground by bringing to market not a smartwatch, but a watch that's actually a smartphone.

Allow us to explain. It's the product of a company called Nubia Alpha and is, like so many new leaps in tech to be revealed to the public this year, is a by product of the flexible screen revolution that's led to the unveiling of so many foldable phones already in 2019.

Lying on the 'watch's' face is a four-inch, 960 x 192 OLED display manufactured by Visionox, a flexible screen specialist. It naturally has touch capacity and is what Visionox calls the "largest wearable flexible screen in the industry".

As it's protected by protected by a strong, heat-resistant polymer called Polyimide, it's flexible enough to wrap snugly around your wrist, yet tough enough to boast both water and dust resistance.

Nubia Alpha
The Nubia Alpha Wearable Smartphone (Image: Nubia)

While the concept of a watch with a touchable screen seems fairly familiar by now, it goes far above and beyond the capabilities of an apple watch. It is, for all intents and purposes, an independent phone.

It can take and make calls, send and receive text messages and work entirely on its own, meaning it doesn't have to be paired with a physical smartphone to get the communication benefits like an Apple Watch does. It is the phone. Well, unless you get the Bluetooth-only version, then it's a Smartwatch, we suppose.

Although, a relatively barebones phone it is at that. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage under the hood, which is enough to do the smartphone basics, but not much else. It doesn't even have an up-to-date wearable chipset. It does have 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for web-browsing and everything else, but would you want to surf reddit on your commute via a watch? Thought not.

It also has a 5-megapixel camera, although we can't imagine its selfie capability is all that much to write home about. Still, if using your phone as a phone and not much else is more your thing, it might be up your alley.

Perhaps more practically, it also has all the hallmarks of a fully-loaded fitness watch. On the other side of the Alpha's face is a heart-rate monitor, while the software is set up to measure sleep and exercise by way of a custom OS that's "infinitely customizable, intuitive, and visually striking," and "a whole new way to interact with what you care about most."

We're not sold for now, but if it sounds like something that might tickle your fancy, the Nubia Alpha is releasing in the States over the coming year. A Bluetooth-only model will be available for for roughly $500, a black 4G eSim variant for about $620, and an 18-karat gold for just over a grand.


Via GQ Australia

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