Just when you thought our digital culture was bumping against the limits of oversharing, Looxcie steps in with a device that makes it even easier for oversharers to document every mundane moment of their lives. The Artiman Ventures backed startup has officially launched a wearable camcorder, that fits over the ear, which allows users to capture short clips and immediately share and publish those videos on the web via a companion mobile app.
And starting this Wednesday, the device is available on Amazon.com for $199.
Looxcie, pronounced look-see, is meant for casual users who love to video-share but are craving more flexible options (versus other live streaming services like Qik).
This is how it works: a user straps Looxcie on their ear, putting the camera roughly at eye level. The device can continuously record and store up to 4 hours of video footage, after which the rechargeable battery taps out. If something noteworthy occurs, the user presses an “instant clip” button, which will take the last 30 seconds and package it into a video file. Through Bluetooth, that file is sent to Looxcie’s companion mobile app, which can then be shared via e-mail, Facebook or YouTube. For impatient users, you can also configure the app to upload “instant shares” automatically.
For now, the mobile app is only available on Android devices, but Looxcie plans to roll out apps for the Blackberry, Windows and iPhone operating systems by the end of this year. If you have none of the above but still want to use a wearable camcorder, you can upload your files to your PC or MAC via a USB cord— of course, this effectively negates the instant-sharing functionality. Check out a sample clip:
The real question is, is it worth it? I have no doubt that there will be a few die-hard video bloggers who will want to give this device a real test drive, but it’s hard to imagine massive traction with the average consumer. For aesthetic and practical reasons, the average consumer may not want a device, that he may or may not use, sitting on top of his ear. Looxcie also suffers from several product limitations, which may discourage the hardcore demographic. At 15 frames per second and HVGA 480×320 resolution, the video quality is OK, just mediocre— not superior to your average iPhone or Android smartphones. Furthermore, four hours of recording time and a 30-second limit on instant clips seems insufficient if your goal is to actually record your life.
That all said— never underestimate people’s need to share on the web and the lengths they will go (and the electronics they will purchase) to do so.