Neptune looks reverse the roles of the smartwatch and smartphone


Montreal-based startup looks to usher in a Dick Tracy-like future. 


Ever since you can probably remember, the smartphone has been the focal interest of your day. From waking up to a set alarm to checking your email to texting friends, they are seemingly attached to our hands at all times. In recent months, we’ve also seen a number of smartwatches enter the market; however, each of them have essentially been an add-on to your phone. But what if they were to swap roles? That’s the idea behind Neptune Duo, a two-device package featuring the “world’s smartest wearable,” Neptune Hub, and a pocket-sized companion device, the Pocket screen.

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The wrist-worn gadget runs on Android Lollipop, while packing the capabilities (and power) of an ordinary smartphone. This includes a quad-core processor, 4G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC. Instead of using a handheld device, the Hub comes paired with a smartphone-like 5-inch display of its own. The aptly named Pocket syncs with the watch and can remotely run apps through its capacitive touchscreen. Not to mention, it also promises to recognize scribbled writing from a finger to form letters and send a message. The screen is equipped with 8mp camera on the back and a 2mp camera on the front with LED flash, as well as a built-in microphone and speaker.

“Much like a mouse, a keyboard, or a computer monitor, the Pocket screen is simply an interface for the Hub. It’s not very smart, it doesn’t need to be,” the company explains.

Whether a user is with or without their Pocket, they will always be able to stay connected with the Hub. In fact, the screens are interchangeable as well, which means you’ll never have to worry about leaving your phone behind again. The wearable allows users to place calls, send and receive messages, glance at notifications, track fitness and much more right from their wrist.

With a combined battery capacity of 3,800 mAh, Neptune Duo can last a few days of normal usage on a single charge. Furthermore, the Pocket can serve as a portable battery juice pack for the Hub, recharging it whenever it needs power.

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“The current wearables market is saturated with Bluetooth-paired smartwatches and fitness bands,” said Simon Tian, CEO and Founder of Neptune. “The issue is that they all depend on the presence of a nearby smartphone in order to have full function. This is mainly because the wearable usually acts as a ‘dummy’ device that tethers to your smartphone, the ‘master’ device. But what if the roles were reversed? What if smartphones were completely rethought to simply become dummy pocket-sized displays, void of any computing or connectivity, that paired with a smart wearable on your wrist instead? That’s what Neptune Duo is.”

With most smartwatches we’ve seen so far rely on your smartphone to supply the main computing power, the Neptune Hub acts as the main supply and the screen merely a companion device, meaning of all your personal information will stay securely on the wrist. With all apps and files stored on the Hub, a misplaced or stolen Pocket screen won’t mean lost data anymore.

Intrigued? Head over to the company’s official page here. The Montreal-based startup is currently taking early reservations in various combinations of pay now/pay later. For instance, it’ll cost $798 if paid upon shipment later this year, or $498 if paid for now.

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