Folding phones are so passé. Let's talk about wraparound phones. This ‘distinctive’ wraparound smartwatch, or what the company that makes it is calling a ’wearable phone’, is the Nubia Alpha.
We spotted it on a stand in our walk around the show floor at MWC 2019 today, alongside the Nubia X dual-screen phone that we first heard about last November.
Older readers will recall the golden age of will.i.am smartwatches. Back in the early 2010s, serial entrepreneur, celebrity, singer of Boom Boom Pow and close personal friend of T3 will.i.am put out some wearables that were rather ahead of their time – like much that will.i.am does. The Nubia Alpha seems to pick up the sci-fi, futuristic, phone-cum-bangle baton where mister i.am dropped it.
Even older readers will also note that it’s quite like the ‘communicators’ used in Blake’s 7, a typically miserable 80s BBC sci-fi offering where a bunch of ham actors would face peril in a welsh quarry masquerading as an alien world, every week.
The Alpha doesn't launch until tonight so we have no details of the watch as of yet. No price, no launch date or spec details and when I reached out touch the device I was politely reprimanded.
What we can see is that it's a chunky faux gold watch with a wraparound screen that can show a variety of images. We think this is more fashion item than fitness band, if we're honest.
Looking more closely at the device, it appears to have a camera on one side of the face/screen and some sort of ambient light sensor on the other side. There are two crowns, like an old fashioned stopwatch. The settings screen provides a few more clues as to the functions of the device. Viewing the screen from top to bottom, it looks as though the Nubia Alpha offers the following modes/features:
- UV meter
- Stop, I am a policeman!
- Battery level
- Watch face chooser
- Watch-only mode
- Wireless hotspot
- Night mode
- Airplane mode
- Volume control
- Mute mode
The watch also comes with a pair of wireless earbuds in a matching gold-style finish, to complete the look. Perhaps you can sync the watch with the headphones so that when you're listening to, for instance, the Black Eyed Peas, the screen pulses along in time to their throbbing rhythms and timeless melodies.
Oh, and we assume you'll be able to make calls using the watch and the earbuds or surely the company would have called it a smart bracelet rather than a wearable phone.
More will be revealed later tonight – tonight's gonna be a good, good night! – when the watch launches officially, although we'd be surprised if any of the settings we've listed above turn out to be inaccurate.
Update, 26 February:
The Nubia officially launched last night. Here are the specs...
- Two colour variants: black and gold (18K gold plated)
- 4.01" flexible OLED display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor
- 5MP camera
- Bluetooth + Wi-Fi + eSIM connectivity
- 500mAh battery (up to 48 hours of standby time)
- Magnetic charging connector
- Quick Charge technology