By Mike Prospero

The new CoWatch smartwatch, available in June for $279, integrates directly with Amazon's Alexa.

Alexa is moving beyond Amazon gadgets. You'll soon be able to ask the Alexa voice assistant all sorts of questions from the CoWatch, a new smartwatch that looks to take on both Apple and Android Wear devices.

Available for pre-order through IndieGoGo for $159, the CoWatch will go on sale for $279 in June. We had a chance to get an early look at this new smartwatch, and though it — and the smartwatch category as a whole — have their issues, including Alexa integration is a definite differentiator.

The CoWatch runs the Android-based Cronologics OS. The watch should work equally well when paired with both Android and iOS smartphones. The one difference is that, if paired with an Android device, users will be able to take actions on notifications.

The most intriguing aspect of the CoWatch is its Alexa integration. Simply talk into the watch — it has a microphone and a speaker — and Alexa will respond. The response was just as fast as when using the

Amazon Echo.

I liked the CoWatch's minimalist design. Despite its large 400 x 400 AMOLED display, it didn't feel too big or too heavy on my wrist. Better yet, the display didn't have the "flat-tire" look of so many other smartwatches, so the screen was perfectly round.

MORE: The Best Smartwatches

The case is made of stainless steel, but a ceramic ring helps its antennas (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) better reach the outside world. The transition from steel to ceramic wasn't too jarring, either. The CoWatch will come in either black or silver; both were attractive, especially with the braided metal wristband that's reminiscent of the Apple Watch's Milano loop.

Packed inside the CoWatch is a 1.2-GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of memory and 8GB of storage. The watch also has a heart rate monitor on the underside, though I wouldn't want to go running with the CoWatch's metal band.

The CoWatch's "apps" are accessible by pressing the sub-dials on the watch face, and tackle such things as the weather, smart home, and health. It remains to be seen how many developers want to re-write their apps for yet another smartwatch platform.

According to the company, the watch should last up to a day and a half on a charge, which is about average for most smartwatches. I also like that its display has an always-on feature, so you don't have to flick your wrist just to read the time.

The CoWatch will begin shipping in June; those who back its IndieGoGo campaign through the pre-sales that start today can get the watch for as low as $159. The CoWatch will cost $279 when it hits the market.

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