i'm Watch by i'm

Android smartwatches mean you can "leave your phone at home"

News: two European companies have launched rival Android-powered smartwatches at the Baselworld watch fair in Switzerland, bringing voice calls as well as email, video, camera and apps to devices worn on the wrist.

Dutch company Burg and Italian brand I'm both used Baselworld, the world's leading luxury watch fair, as a launchpad for their digital devices.

Burg founder Hermen van den Burg described the reaction to his product as "amazing" and added: "Everyone thinks this is going to change the watch industry".

Burg launched Burg 17 (top image), which runs on the Android 4.0 operating system and features a 1.54 inch screen. The company claims it is the first ever fully-functional Android-powered smartwatch.

The product offers a host of features including a voice recorder, a 2 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi and GPS. It contains a SIM card, so can be used as an alternative to a mobile phone, and will retail for €389 when it goes on sale in July.

i'm Watch by i'm

Meanwhile I'm launched I'm Watch (above), which offers similar features to the Burg 17 but lacks a SIM card, so must be paired via Bluetooth with a mobile phone to receive calls and browse the internet.

The product runs on Android-based software called I'm Droid 2, which the company describes as "the world's most advanced smartwatch operating system".

Wrist-mounted devices have been generating a lot of excitement lately, with rumours that Apple is developing an iWatch and the Pebble smartwatch breaking the record for Kickstarter funding last year.

"People are aware of smartwatches because they've heard that Apple is developing one, but when people see we already have a smartwatch with Android and a SIM, they don't believe it," said van den Burg.

i'm Watch by i'm

He added: "Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. People are afraid they'll lose or break them. Now you can leave your phone at home."

Users can remove the SIM card from their phone and put it in their smartwatch when they go out, van den Burg said, or buy a second SIM card for their watch.

Van den Burg added: "Android is much easier to use than [Apple's] iOS. Android is what people use around the world".

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