This simple but beautiful smartwatch was created by a South Korean startup and allows the visually impaired to feel their texts and even read books through the use of moving dots that form Braille figures. It's currently in the pre-order stage, but will cost less than $300 when available for mass market. A much more elegant and private accessibility option than using voice readers to mispronounce your message in public.
The worst thing about smartwatches may be that their screens are best viewed by mice: human eyes weren't meant to view such small data. Lenovo offers an intriguing solution to this dilemma by offering a second screen on their concept watch, something like Google Glass. It's awkward, but at least it's forward-thinking.
Pine (by Neptune) isn't the sexiest looking smartwatch out there, but it does something else other smartwatches haven't figured out yet: it isn't tethered to your phone. Eliminating redundancy is compelling enough to make the Pine an innovative option--while still retaining nearly all the performance features of a smartphone. It also has a full keyboard. Imagine that.
We're cheating a bit on this one, as this isn't a smartwatch so much as a smart band that detects the wearer's finger movements to control devices through Bluetooth. Much more natural than trying to grapple with a small screen, and also expands the usability of our devices beyond the screen while creating a single ecosystem.
Cheating again, this time with a band that has most of the functions of a smartwatch, but allows you to keep using your beloved analog watch. This solves the issue of heirloom vs. hype and offers a more affordable option for those unwilling to invest in an expensive piece of technology that will most likely be obsolete within a year. Plus, there's something very cool about the technology of a smartwatch moving to the band.
To be fair, the Moment resembles more of a slap bracelet than a traditional watch, but it's nice to see someone rethink the entire design of what a watch can or should look like. It has a full keyboard, yes, but also has a battery that lasts for 30 days. That's a significant step forward in wearables.
There you have it: designs solving, rethinking, and challenging the idea of the smartwatch and its functionality. And it didn't take the world's most famous company to do it.