Technology

This Wearable Smartphone May Be The Future, But It Looks Weird

Nubia Alpha, wearable smartphone
Image Source: Nubia/YouTube (screenshot)

At a time when most tech companies are making efforts to squeeze smartphone-like features into a smartwatch, one company has plans to make a wearable smartphone. At IFA 2018, Nubia even showcased a concept device and revealed plans to start production on it by the fourth quarter of this year.

What to expect from the Nubia Alpha

Nubia, a ZTE spinoff, unveiled the prototype device, calling it the Nubia Alpha and touting it as a “wearable smartphone.” The device features Flex, which is Nubia’s proprietary flexible display technology. Further, the gadget will come with a light strip, allowing users to customize it using various themes. It will be available in black and white.

“The Nubia Alpha brings the company’s innovative smartphone features and professional mobile photography functions in a wearable format that perfectly complements one’s bespoke lifestyle and raises the bar in innovation and versatility for a mobile communications device,” said Nubia Smartphone General Manager Ni Fei.

Nubia’s wearable smartphone is also equipped with a special proximity sensor which determines the orientation of the device. Additionally, the Nubia Alpha will support 4G connectivity and features a smart camera with one-touch modes. The Chinese company has not shared any more details, including pricing and the release date.

From the teaser video for the device, however, we can tell that it has a metallic exterior which forms the design of the bands as well. Though the device has touchscreen capabilities, smartphone-like buttons can be seen on both sides. The giant camera is placed to the top-right corner. Nubia’s wearable smartphone features magnetic pins at the bottom, possibly for charging.

The 37-second teaser video, which is available on YouTube via the channel Social Nubia, reveals that the device will carry a heart rate sensor and other fitness-related features. Because of the screen, the interface will be aligned vertically. Additionally, the teaser video hints at how the incoming call screen and the contacts screen will look.

Other vital features revealed by the video are music playback, a find-my-phone app, payments platform, heart rate sensor and pedometer.

Is a wearable smartphone the future?

Even though most of these things about the wearable smartphone sound good, there are a few concerns that must be addressed if the company sees it as a replacement for the smartphone. First, the device has a tall and narrow display, which is not comfortable for reading, watching videos or looking at photos.

Further, it does not yet have a rear camera, and for now the battery is reportedly just 500mAh, which may not last a full day. The company says it is working on adding a bigger battery, but instead of putting it at the base, it will go in the gadget’s band. Not all users will be OK with wearing this smartphone (or a watch as big as it) around their wrist.

On the flip side, fans of watches with big dials would love to have this wearable smartphone. The issue with the specs can surely be worked upon as the technology improves further. Thus, there are arguments both for and against such a device. It would be wise to leave everything to users in the future to decide if they will ditch smartphones to embrace this wearable tech.

Nubia Red Magic: a gaming smartphone

In addition to the wearable smartphone, the Chinese company also showcased its latest gaming-focused smartphone, the Nubia Red Magic. It must be noted that the Red Magic first debuted in China in April with a price of CNY 2,499. Then it was launched globally via Indiegogo at a price of $399 for early backers.

As far as the phone’s specs, this dual-SIM handset features a 6-inch full-HD+ (1080 x 2160) LTPS TFT with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 85% screen-to-body ratio. The handset is powered by a Snapdragon 835 SoC and runs on the Nubia Red Magic OS on top of Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. It will be available in 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage.

The phone also sports a single 24-megapixel rear snapper and an 8-megapixel selfie camera. It is equipped with a battery capacity of 3,800mAh and supports NeoPower 3.0 and Nubia’s fast charging. Unlike other recent Android phones, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Connectivity options are USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, GPS/ A-GPS and 4G VoLTE.