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Despite the fact that I love all things tech, I don’t know if I ever become an adopter of smartwatches. Another smart device will just make it impossible to disconnect, or miss messages and calls.
And I’m really curious about the feedback from the readers of this blog who own a smartwatch: did it become one of the staples in your gadget inventory?
In any case, the crowdfunding success of Pebble Time smartwatch is contagious: it’s the top funded campaign in the history of Kickstarter with over $20 million pledged by more than 78,000 backers.
Unique is actually not a smartwatch in its “traditional” sense, but it’s a smart leather strap packed with sensors which make any old-school watch a smart one: the customer just has to replace the old straps with Unique ones. The startup from Poland pledged $50K and in the last 30 hours of the campaign they reached the goal with more than 230 backers.
Ubirds, co-founded by Paweł Karczewski and Patryk Lamprecht from Poland, came up with the idea of a customizable smart strap to win customers preferring classic looks. It’s made of good quality leather, and you can pick the size, leather and thread color. Sensors within the strap paired with a dedicated Android/iOS app will enable your regular watch with the following functionality:
activity monitoring (distance, calories, speed, steps);
notifications about calls and messages;
rejecting an inconvenient call by tapping on the strap or sending a pre-made text message of “I’m busy – call you back” type;
Unique strap will vibrate if you are about to leave your phone behind;
Unique straps will be priced at $199. Ready to supercharge your Rolex? 🙂
Now let’s have a look at another crowdfunded wearable – BLOCKS modular smartwatch (waterproof!). The project attracted more than $1,000,000 from more than 3,300 backers with an initial goal of $250K. And the campaign still has 29 days ahead…
It is a London-based startup co-founded two years ago by Serge Didenko from Ukraine and Alireza Tahmasebzadeh from Iran. They met while studying at the Imperial College of London while doing their PhD programs in Bioengineering.
The BLOCKS smartwatch consists of a Core, which is the watchface with basic smartwatch features, and a strap assembled from modules, each responsible for a particular feature. The idea behind BLOCKS is that the customer can assemble his smartwatch with the functions he needs by swapping in-and-out modules in the strap.
The first modules to become available are:
NFC (for contactless communication and data transfer, incl. payments)
Adventure (altitude, pressure, and temperature)
Extra battery module (device life +20%).
And there is a whole range of planned BLOCKS modules, including SIM-card module for answering to messages and emails with voice, fingerprint module for authentication, LED module for lightening your way. The startup envisions to go even further, by offering in the future modules for Air Quality module, Camera, Stress Levels and Body temperature.
Developers want to create the whole ecosystem around BLOCKS. The startup is planning to launch the app store – BlockStore - and make their platform open to the developers’ community. Serge and Alireza expect that a wide range of apps and modules for BLOCKS will become available for various applications like gaming, sports, healthcare, workplace, academic research…
The startup already has solid partnership agreements. Their smartwatch uses Qualcomm’s processors and will be manufactured by the Taiwanese Compal Electronics.
The beauty of BLOCKS is that you can change modules on the go, no need to restart your watch. Going to the gym? Connect the heart rate module. No access to the plug? Add the Extra-Battery one. The standard BLOCKS set (the Core plus 4 modules) is priced at $285.
Thoughts from the Editor:
Sell BLOCKS with a beautiful and functional case for the Modules, so that the unused modules are securely stored and don’t get lost among other stuff in the purse or backpack.
If your wrist is too delicate while you want too many blocks on it, just turn it into a necklace 😉
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vita at goaleurope dot com