A customisable, modular smartwatch with mix-and-match features created by the creators of Phonebloks is the Blocks.
Modularity played a vital role in modern computing. A desktop PC is a collection of components that can be swapped out and upgrades on the go based on the personal requirements of the user. Recently, Phonebloks and Google have been working together on Project Ara to bring the same kind of customizability to the smartphones. Blocks team realized why not only bring same level of customization to wearables too. Considering the consumer interest and product development, wrist-worn devices are the next big thing which will be taken to an all new level if were being modular too.
Know all about Phonebloks here: What is Project Ara (aka Phonebloks)?
The extremely early prototype of Blocks was a smartwatch running Android Wear like the Phonebloks which runs on a special Android operating system. But, later on, Blocks team decided that they will run Tizen on Edison.
“Wearable devices are very personal devices, so naturally being able to customise yours would be amazing, as you could make it unique to your own lifestyle! Also, because smartwatch technology is so new, there are new versions of products being released every few months, so the sustainability angle that modularity brings would also be a huge plus. After months of research, we finally managed to prove our modular concept in one weekend. Not a normal weekend due to extreme lack of sleep, but time well spent on proving it worked. We had built simple display, processor, motion sensor and temperature sensor blocks, and we could connect them in any combination we liked.”, wrote designer Hakeem Javaid on the Phonebloks blog.
Blocks Team had been working on the prototype for more than 8 months and then decided to take part in Intel’s Make It Wearable challenge. They ended up in the top 10 finalists and got $50,000 funding from Intel along with it they were provided with the latest Intel processors. After that they knew there design and hardware has started taking shape so they focused more on the software. They are currently opting in for the Samsung and Intel’s Tizen OS but are looking forward to support Android, iOS and even Windows Phone.
Blocks is truly an open platform as it has an open platform for the software and as well as for the hardware. Anyone can develop apps or even build blocks and sell them on the blockstore once the store gets online. With such level of customisation we will have access to the best and widest variety of technology.
Proposed modules include rectangular and circular touchscreen faces; an E Ink face, a la Pebble; microphone; motion sensor; gesture control; GPS; heart monitor; blood oxygen monitor; environment sensor; fingerprint scanner; audio jack; camera; extra battery; concealed USB stick; NFC chip for contactless payments; flashlight; programmable button; SIM port; and kinetic charging.
Each modules will have removable covers so that you can customise the looks as well as the functionality of your device. If you want, you can even swap out which modules Blocks contains on a daily basis as far as where the modules all fit, making up the links like a bracelet.
Pricing of Bloks:
The pricing is yet to be announced but the team said Blocks will enter a crowdfunding phase in Q2 of the next year, and the watch will ship towards the end of 2015.
Blocks will be produced and shipped in batches. To receive it first you need to get Blocks Membership and you will be guaranteed a slot in first batch. The membership will also secure an early bird in the crowdfunding campaign and the early bird discounts will vary from 20% to 40% off the full price of the block. To know more about Blocks, visit www.chooseblocks.com.