Alexandru Voica contributes to ‘My week with’, a column covering consumer products that use IP technologies from Imagination.

Strap on, the Tomoon T-Fire is quite a ride

Even though 2013 has seen the watch industry slowing down in profitability, I believe that watches are here to stay and will continue to be part of our daily routines. Whereas others prefer to splash on expensive models, I enjoy collecting and wearing unique yet affordable models.  Tomoon T-Fire

When the first batch of smartwatches (all MIPS-based, might I add) started showing up in China, I was intrigued whether I would find one that I can add to my permanent collection. Within minutes, my search came to an abrupt conclusion: I had come across a prototype of Tomoon T-Fire – and knew that I had to have one.

Coco Chanel once said that fashion was not something that existed in dresses only – and Tomoon T-Fire is here to confirm it. It comes in very distinct palette of colors (black, red and blue) and has a very interesting design which sets it apart from similar products.

Packaging and design

Tomoon T-Fire comes in a sleek black box that includes the device, a charging cable and a manual. Since the watch is sold exclusively in China, the menu and instructions are in Mandarin – a language I have yet to master. However, I was able to quickly figure out how to switch the default language to English by navigating the menus based on my experience with the standard Android user interface.

Tomoon T-Fire (3)

The strap is made of medical-grade thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). TPEs are a family of materials that combine the characteristics of rubber with the recyclability and processing advantages of plastics, making them safe to wear directly on your skin and environmentally friendly. I opted for the black version since it fits well with the clothes that I usually wear during a typical day.

Hardware

Tomoon T-Fire sports a 1GHz MIPS-based Ingenic JZ4775 CPU, 512Mb of RAM, and 4GB of flash memory. If you want to know more about Ingenic and the JZ4775 application processor, check out this blog article I’ve written about it or have a look at their website.

The smartwatch also features a 1.73-inch curved e-ink touchscreen with a 320×240 pixel resolution. Other functions include a built-in gyroscope, an electronic compass, and a 3-axis acceleration sensor.

Software

Tomoon T-Fire runs a customized version of Android that has been optimized for use on a smaller screen.

Like most smartwatches, there are weather, fitness and messaging applications preinstalled and you can connect to your smartphone or tablet to get various message-based notifications. One of the features that I found very useful is the automatic power on/off mode; since I don’t usually look at my watch during the night, I’ve chosen to power it down between 1.00 am and 5.30 am which saved battery life quite significantly.

Tomoon T-Fire (1)

What’s next?

I’ve reached out to Tomoon and asked them what they were working on right now – and the company has some exciting news. Beyond the T-Fire smartwatch, Tomoon is developing a cloud platform that is capable of mining big data, and delivering smart services to T-Fire and a string of other devices coming out later this year.

Tomoon cloud service

Final words

I must admit I was very impressed by Tomoon’s T-Fire. Design-wise, I believe T-Fire is one of the coolest looking smartwatches out there. It offers good battery life, runs an intuitive smartwatch UI on top of Android and feels great to wear.

You can order the Tomoon T-Fire smartwatch from their official store for RMB699 ($112/£66).

We want to hear from you

One of the great things about working for Imagination is observing first-hand the breadth of our technologies working in end products. The amazing hard work that our engineering, sales and marketing and support teams put in enables our partners to continue designing better products, from the iconic smartphones, tablets or smart TVs that we use every day to the enterprise backbone servers that handle trillions of operations per second.

These articles aim to give consumers an overview of the large and diverse markets we operate in. I will be covering a range of interesting products from each segment market while focusing on how our technologies deliver new user experiences.

If you have any suggestions or want to ask any questions, please don’t hesitate to use the comments section below.

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About the author: Alex Voica

Profile photo of Alex Voica

Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

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