Last week CITIZEN unveiled its latest hybrid watch. Called “Riiver”, it connects to various devices and services through the company’s open-source “ IoT platform.
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Hybrid timepieces were all the rage a couple of years ago but seem to have fallen by the wayside recently. These watches aim to bring the best of both worlds – analogue style hands along with smartwatch functionality.
CITIZEN is a century old outfit that is based in Japan. In addition to watches, it is also known for manufacturing small electronics such as calculators. In 2006, the company introduced the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled watch. It followed this up six years later with the Eco-Drive, the first Bluetooth-enabled, solar-powered watch.
Late last year, CITIZEN teamed up with Fossil Group. As part of that agreement the company announced it will manufacture and sell hybrid watches incorporating Fossil Group’s technology.
CITIZEN’s latest venture is called the Eco-Drive Riiiver. The three iiis in the name of this hybrid stand for “imagine,” “inspire,” and “innovate”.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect about the device is that it’s powered using any light source. The smartwatches are built around Ambiq Micro’s Apollo MCU family and maintain extremely long battery life. On a full charge they will keep going for about 7 months (about 1.5 years at power save).
The other interesting aspect is the open-source IoT platform. In a three-step process Riiiver allows wearers to create an “iiidea” action that can interact and connect with various devices and services. You could, for example, program the device to call a transportation service with just the push of a button or operate smart speakers with the watch.
In terms of other specs, Riiver measures calories, steps and light levels. Its 43mm case is built from stainless steel and the Crystal/Sapphire glass has an anti-reflective coating. The watch features a minimalistic design but stands out due to high-visibility colours and hands encased in a wide, spacious dial. There will be a number of styles to choose from as shown by the image below.
Riiiver was unveiled last week at the SXSW in Austin in Texas. The $420 device is scheduled for an autumn 2019 release. You can sign up on CITIZEN’s website to be notified as soon as it becomes available for purchase.
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