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HP’s MB Chronowing smartwatch looks traditional, packs smart skills

HP has taken a decidedly different approach with its first smartwatch, the MB Chronowing. There’s no touchscreen or microphone. It can’t track your steps or measure your heart rate either.

Instead, HP – in collaboration with designer Michael Bastian – has made it look like a more traditional timepiece. But it hasn’t left out the smart tech altogether.

It will alert you to texts, emails and notifications by vibrating gently. While it syncs with apps on your phone, it won’t run apps itself. This, Bastian explained to the Wall Street Journal, is designed to make you more polite.

“How many times have you been in a lunch and someone keeps checking their phone?” he told the paper.

It works with iOS and Android devices, and features a clock dial on the face, whose hands are rendered using the watch’s monochrome LCD display.

Instead of swiping the screen, you navigate using three buttons on the side. These can also switch on the built-in light and start your mobile’s music player.

HP announced its collaboration with Bastian earlier in the year, but this is the first look we’ve had at the device. It will go on sale on Friday from gilt.com, costing $649 (£405) for the limited-edition all-black version with a sapphire-glass crystal and alligator strap. The basic model – which comes with leather, rubber and nylon straps – will set you back $349 (£218).

It’s the most premium-looking techy timepiece we’ve seen since the Withings Activité, which, the company insists, will not compete with the Apple Watch.

Read more: Apple Watch slated for spring 2015 release