The Uno Noteband is a $99 wearable designed for those who want the convenience of getting notifications on their wrists but don’t want to spend a bunch of time fiddling with a two-inch screen when they’ve got a perfectly good smartphone in their pocket.
Like the Pebble smartwatch, the Uno Noteband syncs up with your phone, bringing you notifications about messages, phone calls, emails and social network activity. But instead of having you tab through these messages using buttons or swipes (as you would on Android Wear or the upcoming Apple Watch), you see a notification, tap the screen, and it pumps out the text at a few hundred words per minute.
The notification system on the Noteband is built on Spritz, a toolkit that lets you speed-read content at a variable rate. As a user, that means you can set the speed at which notifications play from an app on your smartphone, so if you’re really impatient you can crank the standard ~250 words per minute up into the 400s.
Beyond the simple interaction described above, there’s also a control nub for maneuvering through the stripped-down interface on the Noteband. But the point isn’t to spend a lot of time on the device — in fact, you can’t actually engage with the notifications from the watch. The idea is that if any of the messages are worth dealing with, it’s less of a hassle to handle it on your paired phone.
That minimal interaction design and the device’s OLED display result in a smartwatch that you don’t have to charge every day. On Uno’s Indiegogo page, the startup says its watch will last up to three days between plug-ins, striking a balance between the week you get from fitness-focused bands like those from Fitbit and the single day’s use you find on more general-purpose watches.
Speaking of fitness, it’s basically expected that these bands will have some health features at this point. The Noteband can track steps and the intensity of activity and syncs that data to your phone via Apple’s Health Kit APIs or Google Fit.
The Noteband might be too limited for those who want something that can run a bunch of different stripped-down apps from your phone. There is support for third-party service beyond those mentioned above — gamers will be able to get notifications from Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network and Steam — but those features are being added by the Uno team, so you’re going to get things that appeal to a wider audience before more niche applications start showing up.