After two years into development and a promise that it would be launched this year, the Blocks modular smartwatches finally gets a chance to become a reality.
BLOCKS Wearables, the UK-based company behind this modular smartwatch, announced back in March 2014 that it would launch their product this year. This April, when most people had forgotten about that, Pebble showcased its Smartstraps and thus hinted at its plans of making a modular smartwatch. Since that hasn’t happened, yet, we’re going going back to BLOCKS Wearables, who launched today their crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for the world’s first modular smartwatch.
“The development of the Core has been done. Initial designs for Modules are done, components are selected. The Modules are made at prototype stage but the electronics for the Modules for the final product needs to be produced and tested,” explained BLOCKS co-founder Ali Tahmaseb, pointing out that the modular smartwatch is currently in the engineering prototype phase, with a final design ready for testing scheduled for December.
“On the software side, the Android optimizations are mainly done. We have partnered up with a software company with very talented engineers previously in the Google Android team, that are working on even more optimizations and interactions. We have done an initial version of our launcher and menus but are still working on the User Interface.”
The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign reached its funding goal of $250,000 within a few hours since the project’s launch, so there’s no doubt that BLOCKS will be mass produced. Anyone who has pledged $285 or more (the pledge for early birds was smaller, but those spots are long gone) will receive their modular smartwatch in May 2016. The Core, to which you can later add modules, can be had for $195. Given that the developers have already hit the goal, all that they have to do in the remaining days until the campaign’s end is to add stretch goals. Considering how many modules can be created for a smartwatch, they shouldn’t have problems getting ideas for that.
The first Kickstarter funding phase focuses on five initial modules for additional battery capacity, GPS navitation, heart rate monitor, NFC sensor, and an “adventure module” that transmits to the smartwatch such info as the current altitude, pressure and temperature, details of utter importance for hikers. I’m sure that there will be plenty others coming soon after, making this the only smartwatch you will ever need, as its developers claim, too.
Tahmaseb is quite confident that the company will be able to deliver the modular smartwatches in May 2016: “We have selected components and designs that are reliable, previously tested in other devices, and easy to manufacture. Our ODM has extensive experience in bringing very high quality consumer electronics to market. Our main innovation is in the industrial design, connectors, and communications which have been done by our team. Therefore, it is a good estimate.”
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