Orange County Business Journal

Martian Watches Hit Vegas as CES Kicks Off

Chris Casacchia Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Irvine-based startup Martian Watches made a splash last night when it introduced what it bills as the world’s first smart watch with voice activation.

The company debuted three watches geared for professionals, younger consumers and technology enthusiasts at the annual kick-off event at the MGM Grand Casino before the start of the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Tuesday.

“We’re looking for a product distribution partner and to introduce our watches to the public,” Chief Executive Jeffrey Hsieh said.

The watches, which retail for $250 to $300, allow users to make calls, send voice-to-text messages, listen and reply to text messages, set calendar notifications, control music and search the web. They also display caller ID and incoming text up to 40 characters, along with vibration and LED alerts.

The devices sync with Apple Inc.’s operating system and Android platforms.

The Kickstarter crowd-funded company is targeting smartphone enthusiasts who want a hands-free Bluetooth service, Hsieh said.

The watches will be sold through the company’s website and specialty, consumer electronics, wireless carrier, fashion and office supply retailers, with a release date in the spring.

Martian Watches was established in 2007. It handles design and development in Irvine, with manufacturing in Taiwan.

The company was one of several OC-based companies to introduce and showcase new products at the media spectacle, dubbed Digital Experience! sponsored by Pepcom Inc., a Delray Beach, Fla.-based technology event services company.

The event was billed as the largest tailgate party for techies. College football-themed martini and food stations were set up alongside games on the exhibition floor. The jumbo screen played the BCS Championship Game, which saw the Alabama Crimson Tide beath the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 42-14.