Is the future of smartwatches modular? BLOCKS thinks so!
Now 18 months since the London-based Blocks team came up with the idea, they have now launched a Kickstarter campaign to create its concept for a modular smartwatch/wearable. At time of writing the team had already secured nearly four times the requisite $250,000 they had initially hoped for, proving that the idea of controlling which additional sensors and features your wearable has is an attractive one to many people around the world. I can’t help but agree!
To explain the idea a little more, the ‘core module’ (aka the watchface) is a fully functioning smartwatch in its own right and has all the features you would expect – including phone notifications, activity tracking and voice control. The additional modules (aka BLOCKS) utilise the additional space on your wrist that you’d expect a smartwatch to take up. At this stage, BLOCKS has announced 5 modules and 2 more will be uncovered later during the crowdfunding campaign. The modules announced so far include:
- Extra Battery: Add extra batteries to extend battery life or keep swapping them to keep the watch running forever
- GPS: Use it for navigation and tracking your runs without the need to take your phone with you
- NFC Contactless: BLOCKS has partnered up with payment providers to offer a secure payment ability at a touch of the wrist
- Heart Rate: Get accurate heart rate readings, 24/7
- Adventure: Get live readings of temperature, pressure, and altitude. Use it while hiking, climbing, extreme sports, adventurous trips, and any type of outdoors activity
Serge Didenko, co-founder at BLOCKS, explains: “From smartphones to wearables, current technology is one-size-fits-all. This means that we’re all forced to compromise on what we want from our devices. Modularity is how we bring a greater choice of features to a device that is small enough to sit around our wrists.”
Alireza Tahmaseb, co-founder at BLOCKS, adds: “You would need to buy a new smartwatch each year just to keep up with the evolving technology. This is contrary to how watches used to be. BLOCKS beats other smartwatches by being future-proof. You can upgrade your watch by adding new features, module by module, as they become available. BLOCKS is the last smartwatch you’ll ever need.”
Not unlike it’s Kickstarter-funded smartwatch cousin, Pebble, BLOCKS is an open platform that any company or individual can develop modules for – allowing for an infinite choice of modules for BLOCKS users in the long-term.The company is also in partnership with one of the world’s largest manufacturers, Compal Electronics, and supported by ARM & Qualcomm, which is reassuring to those Kickstarter doubters.
This all means that starting from $285 (sorry guys, the cheaper options have already gone!), you can be one of the first lucky early-adopters to flash your modular smartwatch around town. I know we’ll be waiting with baited breath for May 2016 when these bad boys are finally ready to ship, as we can’t wait to get hands on!