Casio Enters Smartwatch Market with Bluetooth Controls

Casio’s booth is massive at CES this year, and it’s all about the watches. Their pitch today was full of glitz and Vegas glam using fitness models to show off their fancy updated Bluetooth watches. Not quite what you’d expect from your average calculator and projector maker. The Casio watchmakers have now added better Bluetooth-connectivity features to their lineup, in an attempt to keep up with their wrist pedometer competitors in the world of wearables.

So how can Casio compete with today’s market of smartwatches and wristband pedometers?

Casio’s new STB-1000 was announced next to current STB100, GB-6900X and GB-6900B Bluetooth watches. All of them feature their proprietary jargon G-SHOCK for indestructibility, but they are adding a + to the STB-1000 for the new defining features of use with several popular fitness apps.  Paired with the newly updated G-SHOCK+ app on Apple and Android’s stores, you’ll be able to get your heart rate, and data on your workouts including biking, running, and walking distances and pacing statistics using four apps: Cyclemeter GPS, Wahoo Fitness, Walkmeter GPS, and Abvio’s Runmeter GPS.

But enough with exercise, Casio says you can get social media/email/ text notifications on their STB and GB models. Their most notable and newest feature is the ability to change your music. Switch tracks and adjust your volume just using the buttons directly from your wrist. Casio calls it “Music Control.” How sensible.  In addition, watch settings can be altered directly from the application on your smartphone.

Unfortunately, the STB-1000 and current GB models watch compatibility is only for iPhones (4s and 5 models) and two Samsung Galaxy models (Note 3 and S4). Sorry, Android lovers.  But really, the best part of these “smarter” watches is that they keep Casio’s same sporty watchface and durability while adding smartphone functionality. It’s even still “water resistant” (r-word for legal reasons, I’m sure) for up to 200m. Oh, and it has a battery life up to two years. What Galaxy Gear or Nike Fuelband wristband pedometer can compete with that? None. The answer is none. No charging whatsoever? We honestly find that a little suspect, but without the high-contrast displays needed to power their competitors, Casio’s G-SHOCK watches don’t need much energy.

For the full rundown of features on the STB-1000, check out Casio’s website. Pricing and availability not set. In addition, comparisons between the current $180-200 GB watch models, check out Casio’s chart.