Blocks Creates Customizable Smartwatch
Most smartwatches on the market today have a dizzying array of features including some that most of us will never use. What if you could build your own device that has only the capabilities that you need without being cluttered up with those you don’t?
That’s the idea behind what Blocks calls the “world’s first modular smartwatch,” a timepiece that allows the user to start with a core and build a custom device by selecting modules that clip onto the face to form the band. The core is a circular watch face that provides the usual smartphone features like smartphone notifications, touch screen, activity tracking, voice control and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The five Blocks modules give the smartwatch additional features like NFC (near field communication) for contact-free payments, GPS for tracking distances, heart rate monitoring, weather tracking and a back-up battery. More modules will be added later.
In a statement, Blocks co-founder Serge Didenko explained the reason for developing the smartwatch. “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.”
Didenko raised the money to finance the development of the Blocks smartphone with a Kickstarter campaign that launched two weeks ago and quickly reached its goal of $250,000. That number grew to $1 million from 3,585 backers and the watch is scheduled to ship in May 2016.
While the modular idea is certainly interesting, the Blocks smartwatch looks a bit too clunky for most tastes especially as many competing devices are growing slimmer and more sophisticated. The idea of interchangeable parts could have a future if adapted by other makers of wearables to allow upgrades that would keep the watch current rather than having it become obsolete in a couple of years.