Smartwatches have a problem: They mostly appeal to people who already enjoy wearing watches, but they take up valuable wrist space that those same people would probably rather use for their actual timepiece. Glance, a new Kickstarter project from the team behind Kiwi Wearables, wants to give users the smarts of the smartwatch without making them ditch their basic clocks.
What Glance offers is a small OLED display and a basic LED notifier light, along with 3D motion detection and Bluetooth 4.0, all in a device that’s designed to hug your wrist and fit snugly under your existing watchband, housed in aluminum. It’s meant to give you a quick look at things like caller display, inbound messages and other information from your watch with its one-line display and built-in Spritz-powered speed reading. But it can also located your phone, respond to messages with a single click thanks to pre-written responses, control computer devices and smart TVs with 3D gestures, track your activity and more.
It works with Android and iOS, and BlackBerry and Windows phone support are listed as stretch goals. It’s waterproof up to 5 ATM (as are many wristwatches these days, and it comes in three sizes for different strap widths, including 18mm, 22mm and 26mm. While it wrests on the wrist, it has a rubberized grip to make sure it grips the wrist band so as not to get lost, and the team says it has all-day wearability and comfort, too. There’s a developer platform, too, to give software makers access to its notification and motion tracking features. It should last around a week on a single charge, the team says.
Kiwi Wearables, the company behind this, first created the Kiwi Move as a general purpose wearable that was meant as an open platform to be used for anything from fitness tracking, to 3D gesture control, to temperature and heat sensing and beyond.
This is an innovative approach to wearable tech, but it’s also going to be one that’s not necessarily easy to sell to consumers. Its design avoids the need to get rid of your watch, but it’s word on the side of the wrist where you’re not used to having hardware. It also requires that you wear a watch or strap and doesn’t come with its own, and it uses control features on top of the basic smartwatch functions that look like they’ll take a little getting used to. Still, it packs a lot of computing power into a small space, and seeks to make the change required in a person’s habits to use it very minimal.
Glance is available for a $70 pre-order, with a target ship date of October 2014. The Kiwi Move, which provides much of the tech that underpins the Glance, went up for pre-order in January and has begun to ship in beta to developers, the company says.