Simon Tian says he has in-hand a working prototype of something nearly unprecedented in consumer electronics: a smartphone the size of a watch. Not just a smart watch, but an actual, fully-featured smartphone running Google’s Android software that straps onto your wrist. Along with his team of nine at the Montreal, Quebec-based startup Neptune, he’ll be unveiling it in mid-April. Tian is only 18 years old—the founder and youngest member of Neptune.
While Apple is reportedly working on a smartwatch as a supplement to a smartphone rather than an alternative to it, Tian wants to disrupt the smartphone category itself. “I looked at the mobile technology industry, and I just realized that there was a problem,” says Tian. “You have iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, TVs, PCs, and they’re all independent devices. But there’s no one single device that can provide all the functionality. I founded Neptune Computer in order to solve this issue.”