I demand BangleJS3!

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  • [not really, but I oftenthink about it]
    If the watch were a smartphone, you should by now announce the next iteration of Bangle :)

    I haven't really followed the Kickstarters and I'm pretty new to owning a Bangle2 myself, so I have no Idea how the whole philosophy for introding new watches is.

    I there a place for feedback? Is a 3rd version planned? (soon, next year, in 3 years, maybe eventually, never)

    In my opinion, the Bangle2 is already a masterpiece and almost perfect:

    My battery lasts a little longer than a week of standard usage (I can charge it every Sunday night)
    The watch is super lightweight.
    Having standard-straps is a plus.
    It's always on. Readable in sunlight. Color display.
    Enough memory for my needs. Enough speed for my needs. Enough water resistance for my needs.

    There is just one thing that I miss: having the 3+1 Buttons that I had with my pebble. Man, i would KILL for a few buttons :)
    It's not that THIS touch screen is horrible to use... In my experience ALL watch touch screens are hard to use. Controlling music on the bike: With buttons always easy. Didn't even have to look at the display.
    Buttons always give that tactile feedback that you hit exactly what you wanted to hit :)

  • If there ever was a Bangle.js 3 I would love for it to have a full 16bit color display like Bangle.js 1.

  • I have to agree if I'm honest. I really like my Bangle.js 2, but I won't be buying another touchscreen only watch again, even if it is a Bangle.

  • I'm pretty sure Gordon didn't design or even spec the Bangle2. He just chose the best option already being manufactured (by SMAWatch on this case).

    I, too, would like more buttons. However, in my opinion the power cost of a full colour display is not worth it. The Pebbles 64-colour display is ideal. Still very low power and sunlight readable, but enough colours to not need dithering to the extent the Bangle2 does (it's already too easy the make text unreadable).

  • +1 for more buttons

  • ... and a truly round display.

  • +1 buttons. At least the 3 of the Bangle1, better 4 (Casio layout). The touchscreen can just not replace the velocity and accuracy in the operation of the watch. I still prefer the Bangle2 over Bangle1 because of its dimensions and display readability (sunlight!).

  • As for colours, I don't need 64, but 8 are too few. I can get by, but 16 would be better by more than what the factor of 2 suggests. A little higher resolution would be good, also better accuracy if possible (although @malaire has taken care of that for this watch). I don't need more buttons, however.

    All said, it's still a joy to work with this watch as it is and to see the results.

  • Am I unimaginative if the Bangle 2 is already exactly what I need? There are things that can be improved, but they're software things and that's half the appeal. Sure, more colours would be nice, but I'd probably have been happy with monochrome too. The only thing I'd wish for that can't be done in software is better waterproofing, and even that is mostly peace of mind because I rarely swim.

  • This is mostly for @Numerist but others might be interested. The reason for 64 colours rather than something smaller, like 16, is due to the way colours work. Displays produce colours using red/green/blue sub-pixels. For the Bangle2, these three sub-colours are 1-bit meaning the total colours produced are 2^(3*1)=8. For the Pebble Time the sub-colours are 2-bit (just 1 more bit each) and the total colours are 2^(3*2)=64.

    I suppose a display manufacturer could take inspiration from digital cameras and come up with something based on a Bayer filter - 1 bit for red, 1 bit for blue and 2 bits for green: 4 bits total per pixel or 2^4=16. I've never heard of anything like that, though, and suspect the Pebble Time screen is the simplest next step up from what the Bangle 2 has.

    Oh, and -several million for a round display. If you want a smart watch over a regular watch, you're wanting to display information - text. There's a very good reason your phone, PC, and even books all have rectangular displays and not circular ones.

  • I used to have a Amazfit Bip (S). It only has one button, but the UI was optimized for that. We should improve the menu and apps. There is no need for a new hardware.
    64 colors were nice. I'm not a fan of the rasters used for 'orange' e.g., but if you know it, 8 colors can be enough.

  • Hi - I have actually got a list of things I'd like from a new Bangle here. It'd be nice to be able to actually spec what I want and have one custom built, but the last folks I talked to had a minimum 50k unit volume for that - which is a long way off what I'm doing with the Bangle! Maybe if I start to reach that level it'll be worth it though.

    Having said that, doing the KickStarter this time was just amazingly difficult and tiring. There's been a lot of great support from everyone, but also some negativity (most of which you won't see because it's directed at me personally) - basically I'm in no rush to repeat it any time soon!

    @gfric are you using the cutting edge builds with the new menus? I think you'll find that'll help a lot!

    Main things on my list:

    • More/better buttons
    • Waterproofing
    • Microphone/speaker (but these + waterproofing doesn't seem sensible, and waterproofing is more of a priority)
    • SWD pin gating - leaving the pins on the back disconnected normally, but allowing USB and/or digital IO on them.
    • ... or ditch all the pins and use wireless charging
    • 64 color LCD

    I feel like the sunlight readability is a massive step forwards over the Bangle.js 1 in usability, matching with the CPU, and battery life, and I wouldn't want to sacrifice that for 16 bit color.

    Also I think it helps to set expectations. If you had something with a really fancy screen people might start seeing it and expecting the Bangle to be like an Apple watch. Something about a low BPP screen seems a bit more 'honest'

    Having said that, the 64 color screen from the Pebbles does sound perfect. I'd definitely use one of those next time if at all possible.

    It may at some point be possible to abuse the existing LCD to provide 64 colors. For example this code:

    var t = 0;
    g.reset();
    g.clearRect(0,0,58,175);
    g.fillRect(117,0,175,175);
    
    setInterval(function() {
      t = !t;
      g.setColor(t?0:-1).fillRect(58,0,117,175­).flip();
    }, 1);
    

    Will display a very flickery greyscale, but with faster rendering and by pushing the LCD bitrate past what's usually accepted, it may be possible to provide better color but at the expense of significantly higher power consumption when it was enabled (eg maybe it could be turned on when the backlight was on).

  • but also some negativity

    Most, if not all probably never designed a watch (me neither) nor designed anything else electronic. So far, you are doing good.

    Also, I'm not using my Bangle to watch pictures, nor plan to do so...

  • It may at some point be possible to abuse the existing LCD to provide 64 colors. For example this code:

    This was actually one of the first things I tried when I got my hands on the physical device. Needless to say I didn't feel the need to try it again.

    Microphone/speaker (but these + waterproofing doesn't seem sensible, and waterproofing is more of a priority)

    I wouldn't need, maybe even want, a microphone, but a speaker would be nice (but not at the expense of waterproofing). In the mean time, I wonder whether the beep using the vibration motor could be improved? I find it inconsistent at the moment, as mentioned somewhere in another thread.

  • Text-based media may give odd results, including unwanted, undeserved remarks. @Gordon has enabled me to do things I've only dreamed of and deserves high credit and plaudits for his hard work and devotion, not to mention knowledge and skill.

    That is unchangeable even if another boon would be easier workings with Apple's mobile phones. Apple doesn't make it easy, I know. Still, perhaps some day, even with Bangle 2.

  • Hardware-wise, my main wish would be a beefier vibration motor.

    I find the touch-screen maybe a little fiddly, but it's serviceable.

    I actually liked the look of the Bangle 1, but I got a 2 because it's what's current.

  • for the version 3, i would like:

    • physical buttons; 3 or 4 ,
    • good readability under the sun
    • seamless compatibility with software for previous models. (note)

    (note) compatible software must be designed before the model exist, so i think espruino (i know that there are already some functions that allow that) and devs should use more generic functions that can be easily "translated" to different hw interfaces by any model maybe the software

  • doing the KickStarter this time was just amazingly difficult and tiring.

    From the outside it looked amazing. Brilliantly executed. Totally delivered. We are all indebted to you for bringing JS2 to market - no one else has done anything close as far as I can see. JS2 is a massive leap from JS1.

    For JS3 my wish list would be:

    1. 64 colours as per Pebble, definitely must be sunlight readable
    2. 352x352 resolution display (double what JS2 has)
      This would be total luxary though. Not a fan of 3 buttons.

    But mostly JS2 is perfect and will get better and better over time. Key area's to improve on JS2 are the heart rate monitor and low power GPS - both can probably be fixed but will need a lot of dedication and effort.

  • Thanks!

    In the KickStarter a lot of people wanted a microphone - I guess voice commands/memos would be neat. But you can see from this thread that lots of people want lots of different things, and not all of them are compatible :)

    If someone made one, a 352x352 display would solve a lot of issues. Even if it were only 3 bit, dithering would hardly be visible.

  • Just got my v2, and love it!

    Thank you for the hard work @Gordon ❤️

    RE: colours & display: Is there sub-pixel rendering support? What's the layout of the LCD like? It's not extra colors, but it might go a long way in making the screen feel larger until a hypothetical v3 is built.

  • There is antialiasing, but really it's only useful on Bangle.js 1. I'm pretty sure the LCD is just RGB stripe, but because it's only 3 bits I feel like the amount of subpixel magic you could perform is pretty limited. It's always worth a try though!

  • Personally I am very happy with my BANGLE 2, the most important thing for me is the sunlight readability and an "accessible" software (which can be fixed over time)
    One thing I would like in future releases is some certainty that it is waterproof.

    Thanks for all the work you have done @Gordon, regarding the problems you had with the kickstarter campaign I still think you have been very honest about what this smartwatch is and what it is not.

  • Regarding the Bangle 2, daylight readable screen was probably the most important feature to me (besides, you know, all the other fantastic features...).

    Should there be a version 3, better waterproofing would be sitting very firmly on the top of my wish-list, making it a bit more of a "action watch" that one can wear while on the water (kayaking, in my case). More buttons a distant second.

  • Does anyone actually care about the barometer?

    I ask because it's really the only reason the Bangle isn't significantly more waterproof, and right now I don't believe it's getting a great deal of use

  • I don't need the barometer. I suspect it's a niche usercase.
    Not kayaking, but running under the rain, or while sweating heavily didn't cause any problem so far with the watch.
    If the watch is seriously waterproof, people will want to use to swim. They will want to know their swimming distances which is challenging because the gps signal is lost each time the watch goes into the water. That's not going to be any kind of easy. Swimming distances in the swimming pool and in open waters, also 2 different things.

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I demand BangleJS3!

Posted by Avatar for Micha_home @Micha_home

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