Casio has been implementing the Bluetooth Smart protocol which is a subset of Bluetooth SIG specification version 4.0 in all their smartphone compatible watches: and again, now, in their newest Edifice watches: EWB-500D-1AJF and the EWB-500DC-1AJF. What’s important about this Bluetooth implementation is Casio’s complete commitment to a specific local wireless spec that mandates by definition, compatibility with iOS, Android, Blackberry and even Windows 8. To this blogger, it is welcome news that a continuing affirmation of specific direction is re-declared and that continuity in the open standard is embraced. Instead of the former tangle of issues, both hardware and software-wise, app writers simply have to write the app! For now, an app called “CASIO WATCH+ Version 2.0.1” which was just released this week (September 3, 2014) will set up your iPhone to use all the watch’s features.
So what’s this mean to you?
— Easy time setting – use the phone to set time(s), time-keeping details and alarm. This is a huge improvement for the user. Button pushing is a giant pain in the butt. An app can obviate all that obtuse Casio menu-map navigation and just plain weird this-button-then-that-button pushing nonsense.
— Easy data collection – save your laps and splits (up to 100) on the watch. Then have the app poll the information.
— Email notification – the watch will notify the user of incoming emails. Since the EWB-500 series does not have a digital readout, there is no additional email information displayed as is on other Casio Bluetooth timepieces. Simple, really.. get an email, get an audible from the watch.
— Phone finder – push a button on the watch and the phone will ring.
And How Does It Compare?
This could be considered (if you are an Edifice fan like me especially) to be the best of category. Granted there are more things it can’t do than it can, but what it does, it does quite well. If you know how to operate your phone, the watch becomes a competent operational satellite to it and you get most of the things done that you expect to be able to do. What you don’t have is an overlapping of a lot of functions, watch and phone, to leave you guessing which tech to use.
And then, there is the matter of the watch itself. As with all products in the Edifice line, this new model presents a fit and finish you’d expect on even considerably more expensive watches. This is a beautiful timepiece with an extravagant look to it, well layed out multi-level dials, classic oyster style integrated band, and a big masculine presence. There is a sporty elegance to it, but mostly it is butch and techy. It will look out of place with a pinstripe suit. It will be eye-poppingly stunning sliding out from under the sleeve of a Orvis Cattlemen’s or a Leather Quilted Burberry blazer. Its quite fashionable without really trying. JMHO.
For those of you in the Japanese marketplace and who embrace new tech, i.e. are early adopters, the watch will be available in September 2014. It is a recommended buy at 40,000 yen (anticipated street value). There’s no indication yet what plans Casio has for the rest of us. It bears mentioning that the EQB-500D*-1AJF is a Japanese product for use in Japan. Used in the USA the watch may pop your toast, randomly flush your new smart-toilet, and scramble the radio presets in your car. This is not a recommended prospect for importing.
In a press release in Europe in May 2014, as part of a limited edition, Casio announced that the EQB-500RB would be released eventually. As of this writing (see below for more) a date has not been announced. The upside is that the watch, certified for Euro-use is on the way.
Edifice Rolls Out More
In the European market, the EFR-540RB-1AER will soon be hitting the streets. It is another commemorative Infiniti / Red Bull Racing edition. Quietly announced on Twitter, the product is being slipped into the cataloge of available watches with very little fanfare – not atypical of Casio’s European marketing method. Original notification of the forthcoming series to be called the Limited Special Collection: The Infiniti Red Bull Racing “Championship Gold” edition, was made back in May 2014 in the Casio Europe press releases. The collection consists of five similar colorways, all black dial with gold markings on stainless or black IP finishes, EQB-500RB, ERA-300RB, ERA, ERA-201RBK, EFR-540RB, and ERA-540RBP.
For September (in Japan) two Red Bull limited editions will be dropping. The EQW-T620RB-1AJR, without seeming to pay much extra for it, includes anti-reflective coated sapphire window, colorful co-branding on the dial, and some pretty impressive gold tone details. It is radio controlled and solar powered.
The well appointed EQW-A1400D-7AJF (white dial) and EQW-A1400DB-7AJF (black dial) sport atomic, solar, smart access, world time, full auto calendar, timer and stopwatch/lap memory features.
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