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Apple Watch Rival Lets You Run With Friends

If you're a fitness fanatic who's been holding out on getting the Apple Watch, an enticing alternative could be on the way. Launching today on Kickstarter, the Rockioo Watch is an exercise-minded smartwatch that lets you compete with runners around the world and make calls without being tethered to a smartphone. Pre-orders for the Rockioo start at $129, and are expected to ship by July of this year.

Sporting a large, titanium watch case with a choice of tempered or sapphire class, the Rockioo looks slick, though is noticeably chunkier than the Apple Watch or LG Watch Urbane. Unlike those premium smartwatches, however, the Rockioo is water resistant at up to 2 meters, and sports a barometer for detecting the atmospheric pressure around you.

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The Rockioo watch is marketed primarily as a fitness device, with a 9-axis sensor designed to accurately capture your daily activity. The wearable's Rockioo Run app turns exercise into a gamified competition, as you can connect to friends or strangers around the world to see who can run farther and faster.

The Rockioo packs standalone 3G connectivity, meaning you can make calls, send texts and challenge other runners without being paired with a smartphone -- something the Apple Watch can't do. The watch features a 1.63-inch, 320 x 320 OLED display that you can outfit with custom, pixelated watch faces, and runs a custom operating system based on Android 4.4.

Rockioo packs a standard offering of Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth support, though the company hasn't made clear what types of smartphones will work with it, if any. The watch's standard edition ($129 for early birds, $149 otherwise) features tempered glass, 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM, while the $199 Sapphire edition features a Sapphire display, 16GB of storage and 1GB of RAM.

Rockioo has until June 7 to meet its $200,000 funding goal, which is already more than a quarter complete as of this writing. If it launches successfully, it could prove to be a worthy affordable alternative to the $350 Apple Watch Sport, especially with its social fitness features and standalone 3G connectivity.

Source: Kickstarter