Casio trotted out its second-generation Android Wear smartwatch this week. The WSD-F20 is a major improvement over last year's model thanks to the addition of GPS and Android Wear 2.0. Here is a quick look.
Casio today announced the WSD-F20, a second-generation smartwatch that is among the first to include Android Wear 2.0 from Google. Like last year's WSD-F10, the F20 is a fully ruggedized wearable that focuses on fitness and other outdoor activities. It meets mil-spec 810G for protection against abuse and is water resistant to 50 meters. The watch includes a dual-display mode that can flip to monochrome to help conserve battery. The biggest improvement over the original is the addition of GPS. Moreover, the WSD-F20 includes a low-power GPS mode that can track the wearer's location on downloadable maps even if the watch is offline. This extends the wearable's ability to track fitness activity in areas where phone coverage is not available. The Android Wear 2.0 platform from Google is a fully redesigned operating system that includes a new user interface, on-device app store, and support for Google Assistant. The WSD-F20 will ship later this year. Pricing is expected to be about $500.
Verizon Wireless said it will discontinue its $2.99 Visual Voicemail service come July 8. All customers who use the Visual Voicemail app will be transitioned to Verizon's free, basic voicemail service. Verizon says customers won't lose their existing voicemails, but may need to make room in their voicemail inbox, as well as reset their voicemail greeting. The list of phones impacted by the change is significant, including old and new models from BlackBerry, Casio, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Pantech, and Samsung. Verizon did not say why it is discontinuing the Visual Voicemail service.
Casio has revealed that the WSD-F10, its rugged and weatherproof Android smartwatch, will be available starting March 25. The wearable costs $500 and can be purchased from Amazon, Google, REI, and Casio.
Casio is finally getting into the proper smartwatch game with an Android Wear watch, in the form of the creatively-named "Smart Outdoor Watch". Weirdly, it doesn't don the G-Shock brand, but it's clearly of that lineage. It's not just any Android Wear watch; Casio has added quite a lot that's unique on both the hardware and software sides. Also, it's huge. We checked it out.
Casio today announced the WSD-F10, the company's first foray into the modern smartwatch market. Casio has long made rugged, outdoorsy watches, and the F10 looks to entice outdoor adventurers who might be seeking more than just a timepiece. The wearable is water resistant to 50 meters and rates mil-spec 810G for protection against shock, vibrations, temperature extremes, and humidity. Sensors include a compass, accelerometer, and air pressure for estimating elevation. It has a 1.32-inch screen with 300 by 300 pixels that can operate in full-color mode or monochrome mode to save power. The watch includes a bevy of Casio activity apps, as well as RunKeeper, ViewRanger, and MyRadar from its partners. The F10 is set to reach the U.S. in March for $500.
Verizon Wireless is offering a handful of its handsets the ability to include push-to-talk, walkie-talkie features. The service, called Push To Talk Plus, is available to smartphones including the Motorola Droid Maxx, Samsung Galaxy S5, and Casio G'zOne Commando beginning today. Other phones, such as the Kyocera Brigadier, will gain the feature down the road. According to Verizon, the service is powered by Kodiak Networks and offers fast call setup times, improved voice quality, and encrypted calls. Users will be able to join existing PTT calls, as well as rejoin calls they left. The service is being offered to business customers, who need to reach out to their sales representatives to initiate service. Push To Talk Plus costs $5 per month per line, though Verizon is offering six months for free to those who sign up soon.
NEC today confirmed that it will exit the smartphone business. NEC had hoped to sell its smartphone business to Lenovo, but talks between the two companies broke down without a deal earlier this month. NEC said that it will cease the development, production, and sales of smartphones immediately, though it will continue to provide support for existing models. NEC will also continue to operate its cell phone business, which it runs with Casio and Hitachi. "We were late to enter the smartphone market, and we were unable to develop attractive products," said Chief Financial Officer Isamu Kawashima. "That's what it comes down to." NEC recently released the Terrain with AT&T in the U.S.
NEC plans to exit the smartphone market, according to Japanese publication Nikkei. NEC's decision comes ater the company failed to forge a smartphone partnership with Lenovo. It tried to sell NEC Casio Mobile Communications to Lenovo, but the deal fell through. The two firms had been speaking since late last year. NEC indicated earlier this year that it might exit the cellphone market altogether, and the Nikkei now reports that NEC may sell some of its cellphone patents. The most recent NEC device to reach the U.S was the Terrain, announced by AT&T just last month.
The recently-announced Casio Gz'One Commando 4G LTE can connect with the Casio G-Shock Watch and share information via various Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy profiles. Both the phone and the watch are ruggedized products, making them an ideal pair, and are among the first to use some of these profiles. When connected, the Commando and G-Shock watch can be used to receive call notifications, messages and emails, just as some smartwatches can. The Commando and G-Shock together use the Find Me profile to let G-Shock watch wearers find their Commando if they are in close proximity. Alternately, the Phone Alert Status Profile can be used to receive alerts if the G-Shock watch wearer wanders too far from their Commando. The Commando and G-Shock watch can also offer alerts when there's a sudden change in atmospheric pressure, which could predict a change in the weather. The Commando goes on sale at Verizon Wireless stores June 27 for $99.99 after $50 mail-in rebate.
Verizon Wireless today announced the Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE, an update to last year's model. The Commando is a fully ruggedized Android smartphone that can withstand shock, dust, water, fog, sand, and extreme temperatures. It features Casio's G'zWorld app and Gz'Gear sensor for mapping and interacting with the outside world, and can provide information on tides, constellations, barometric pressure, and more. The device has an 8-megapixel camera that can record 1080p HD video and slow-motion video. It also has a 1.3-megapixel camera facing the user for video chats and self portraits. The touch display measures 4 inches, had 800 x 480 pixels, is protected by Gorilla Glass 2, and features Glove Mode, which allows the Commando to be used when wearing gloves. It is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and supports microSD cards up to 64GB. The Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE is a global device, and goes on sale June 27 for $99.99 after $50 mail-in rebate.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site reveal details about an unannounced handset from Casio. The Casio C881 Gz'One Commando appears to be an update to last year's C771. The FCC confirms that the C881 supports the CDMA bands and LTE bands used by Verizon Wireless, in addition to NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Images of the C881 - which appears somewhat similar to the Type-V Casio revealed for Japan earlier this year - show it to be a ruggedized smartphone with a large screen, camera with flash, a memory card slot, and buttons that are typically paired with the Android operating system. The photos include Verizon branding. The photos also show an optional battery cover that supports wireless charging. The draft user manual refers to mil-spec ratings. Neither Casio nor Verizon Wireless has announced the C881 Commando.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site provide details about a previously unannounced device from Casio. The FCC confirms that the Casio C811 runs on an LTE frequency used by Verizon Wireless, in addition to Verizon's CDMA frequencies. The FCC shows that the C811 also runs on international GSM spectrum bands. Other features revealed by the FCC include a microSD slot, Wi-Fi, and NFC. A drawing of the C811 shows G'zOne branding, which is used for Casio's rugged line of devices. Given the presence of LTE, NFC, Wi-Fi, and international GSM support, it is likely that the C811 is an Android smartphone bound for Verizon Wireless. Neither Casio nor Verizon Wireless has provided any details about this device.
Verizon Wireless has announced the details about a system update for the Casio G'zOne Commando. The update, which can be downloaded over the air, installs a broad range of bug fixes and performance improvements. In particular, the push-to-talk function has improved Bluetooth compatibility; GPS and VZ Navigator have been stabilized; and the Wireless Alert System has been added, among many other improvements.
Verizon Wireless has made a system update available to the Casio G'zOne Commando that adds support for free push-to-talk services. The update also makes improvements to security, replaces the V CAST Video app with Verizon Video, adds new system alerts, and fixes a variety of bugs. The update can be downloaded over the air.
Verizon Wireless and Casio today announced the Gz'One Ravine 2, a mil-spec rugged flip phone. The Ravine 2 meets mil-spec 810G for protection against immersion, water, shock and dust, vibration, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, altitude, and low and high temperatures. It is global phone and can roam on overseas GSM networks, has push-to-talk capabilities, and comes preloaded with the Opera Mini browser. Other specs include a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus, flash and camcorder; GPS and VZNavigator; dual displays; Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The Ravine 2 will be loaded with Casio's Gz'Gear software, which includes a compass, pedometer, tides, and data on the phases of the moon, sunrise/sunset, and the night sky. The Casio Gz'One Ravine 2 will be available online November 17 and in stores November 23 for $149.99 with a new agreement.
Verizon Wireless has begun distributing the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update to the Casio G'zOne Commando. Aside from adding the standard list of Gingerbread features, the update also improves the speed/performance of the device itself and provides a fix to its proximity sensor. The update will be distributed over the air during the next few days, though users can also pull the update down via their settings tools.
Verizon Wireless and Casio today announced the Commando, a new mil-spec 810G Android 2.2 smartphone that can withstand a wide range of abuse from the elements. The Commando will be loaded with Gz'Gear software, which allows it to operate in eight different modes. It has a compass that interacts with GPS to show nearby landmarks; a pedometer for measuring distances; adventure training software; trip memory for storing travel data; tide charts; thermometer that can access weather data for multiple locations; sun/moon rising and setting charts; and GPS-aided star-gazing and constellation-spotting. The Commando also has a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash and video capture; and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile hotspot. The Casio Commando will be available starting April 28 for $199.99 with a new contract.
Verizon Wireless and Opera Software today announced the availability of the Opera Mini browser on a number of Verizon's feature phones. The alternative browser is available to the the LG enV2, enV3, and enV Touch; the Samsung Alias 2; and the Casio G’zOne Ravine and G’zOne Rock via the Verizon Media Center / Get It Now content store. Verizon said that the browser will be available to additional handsets in the months ahead, and will eventually be pre-loaded on select handsets. Opera Mini is free to download and use, though users are cautioned to make sure they have a data plan.