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Onyx E Ink smartwatch promises much longer battery life

Chinese company Onyx International usually makes ebook readers, but now it’s turned its hand to a smartwatch. Staying true to form, the device has an E Ink screen.

Not only should this make it ultra-readable in bright sunlight, it should also mean its battery life shames other techy timepieces.

Liliputing has gone hands-on with the device. Just like on E Ink e-book readers, the 1.56-inch display only uses power when it’s refreshed. Though obviously this limits its capabilities somewhat. It’s not touchscreen – though Onxy says future versions could be – and it’s not in colour, just the grayscale like on the original Game Boy.

It does have some nifty features though. It syncs to your phone over Bluetooth, and can record how far you’ve run and how many calories burned. It’s also waterproof.

It’s only a prototype at the moment. The soonest we’ll see it go on sale is next year, when it might include GPS.

It won’t be short of competition. Microsoft is planning to reveal its smartwatch in the coming weeks, and we’re also expecting to see the Fitbit Surge ‘superwatch’ land soon.

Pebble’s watches boast up to a week’s battery life, but they use an LCD it refers to as e-paper.

Battery life is turning out to be the thorn in the side of smartwatches. The Moto 360 has just updated its version of Android Wear, which extends the battery life by switching off ambient mode when there’s just 15 per cent juice left. The Misfit Shine gets around the battery quandary by taking a watch battery, though in this correspondent’s experience, it’s an absolute nightmare to replace.

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