What Michael Kors' Access Smartwatch Brings to the Wearables Market

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-09-09
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What Michael Kors' Access Smartwatch Brings to the Wearables Market
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    What Michael Kors' Access Smartwatch Brings to the Wearables Market

    While the Access smartwatch stays true to Michael Kors' focus on fashion and luxury, it also comes with extra functionality traditional electronic watches can't deliver.
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    This Is an Android Wear Smartwatch
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    This Is an Android Wear Smartwatch

    Like an increasing number of smartwatch makers, Michael Kors has opted for Android Wear for his Access model. With Android Wear's help, users will be able to swap out thousands of watch faces, access applications, get phone notifications and much more.
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    This Is a Big Smartwatch
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    This Is a Big Smartwatch

    The Michael Kors Access is one of the larger smartwatches on the market. While the device comes with a standard 22mm-wide strap, its case is 44.5mm wide for women and 46mm wide for men. The case itself is made from stainless steel, and customers can choose metal, leather or silicone straps.
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    Like Most Timepieces, Access Is Dust, Water Resistant
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    Like Most Timepieces, Access Is Dust, Water Resistant

    Michael Kors has offered some protection from the elements in the Access. The smartwatch is capable of standing up to dust and includes a water resistance feature that safeguards it from accidental splashes. However, it's best not to keep it submerged in water for too long or you'll face the possibility of permanent damage.
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    Picking an Operating System
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    Picking an Operating System

    The Michael Kors Access will work with smartphones running Android OS versions 4.4 or higher, as well as the iPhone 5 or newer and any version of iOS since iOS 8.2. There's no support for Windows 10 Mobile or other operating systems.
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    The Battery Life Is Outstanding
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    The Battery Life Is Outstanding

    The Michael Kors Access ships with a 360mAh battery that can last between one to two days on a single charge depending on usage, according to the company. In just 2 hours of charging, the smartwatch's battery life can surge from 10 percent to 80 percent.
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    There's (Some) Internal Storage
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    There's (Some) Internal Storage

    In order to deliver Android Wear support as well as access to applications and other features, the Access comes with 4GB of internal storage. However, that might not be much for those who want to listen to music or run a bunch of apps.
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    Keep an Eye on Fitness
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    Keep an Eye on Fitness

    Thanks to a selection of sensors, including an accelerometer and gyroscope, the Access smartwatch is able to track how far a person has traveled. The device can also provide insight about fitness and goals with help from third-party applications. Those who want to use the smartwatch as a fitness tracker should get the silicone band, which is designed to get sweaty and take more of a beating than leather.
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    And Keep an Eye on Fashion
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    And Keep an Eye on Fashion

    Since this is Michael Kors, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Access is designed for fashion-savvy folks. In fact, Michael Kors says that the smartwatch was designed firstly for fashion, and includes several styles that users can choose from, including a gold-tone option. It's arguably one of the most stylish designs on the market, and with its round face might not give away that it's a smartwatch at first glance.
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    Michael Kors Touts Notifications
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    Michael Kors Touts Notifications

    One of the major limitations in the Access is that it doesn't come with support for LTE, which means it'll need to be tethered to a smartphone in order to deliver most of its functionality. However, once it's tethered to a smartphone, it can display all sorts of notifications, including alerts that a call is incoming. The feature also works with notifications from music services like Spotify and social media sites like Twitter.
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    A Surprisingly Affordable Price Tag
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    A Surprisingly Affordable Price Tag

    In a market where smartwatches like the Apple Watch can reach $17,000, it's notable that Michael Kors has kept its Access at a relatively affordable price. The device, which is available now, starts at $350 for the silicone version and tops out at $395 for its highest-end model, which comes with a metallic band. Other bands are also sold separately.
 

The smartwatch market might have started as a place for technology companies such as Apple and Google to break into the fashion industry. But now fashion houses see the smartwatch market as an opportunity to break into consumer technology. That was illustrated on Sept. 6 when Michael Kors, a popular New York-based sportswear designer, announced that it's now shipping its Access smartwatch. The wearable, which runs the Android Wear mobile operating system and includes a classic round watch face, stays true to Michael Kors' focus on fashion and luxury. It comes with features that you would expect a high-quality timepiece or smartwatch to deliver, such as water resistance and a long battery life, without pushing the price into the realm of a Rolex or Patek Philippe. It also provides athletes with diverse activity tracking thanks to plentiful sensors. The Michael Kors Access smartwatch is the latest to appeal to those who want both the luxury and extra functionality traditional electronic watches can't deliver. This slide show covers the top features in the Access smartwatch and how Michael Kors intends to establish its brand in the fledgling smartwatch market.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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