As we noted earlier this week, the mere fact that Blocks was able to bring its modular smartwatch system to market feels like a minor miracle. The company appears to have not taken the easy route in any respect. It could have launched an Android Wear device, but instead opted to skin a scaled down version of stock Android. And then there’s the modules — the company compares creating each of those to building an entirely different product from the ground, up.
But now that the product is here, Blocks has the equally difficult task of determining precisely who its product is for. It’s true that the smartwatch is finally having its moment, and plenty of companies are openly exploring modular hardware, but for a vast majority of people interested in the category, the plethora of off the shelf hardware offerings provides more than enough choice.
Of course, the startup already has its hardcore fans. Blocks tells me that between Kickstarter and pre-orders, the company has racked up 6,000 sales. That’s hardly mainstream acceptance, but it at least demonstrates initial interest in what the company’s attempting to do here.
Even so, cofounders Serge Vasylechko and Omer Al Fakir tell me that they don’t ultimately see the product as ever having truly mainstream appeal. Instead, Blocks ultimately has a handful of potential targets.
First, there’s the aforementioned early adopters who happily pounce at strange new Kickstarter projects. Second is developers looking to prototype potential technologies for wearables. Third is enterprises. Blocks believes that its modular system could find a place with businesses looking to use wearables as a way of tracking and collecting other data from employees.
There is, perhaps, some appeal in the ability to pull that particular module off the product at the end of the day, so you can use it as a standard smartwatch — much likely many consumers already do with their phones. Blocks is also aggressively looking to partner with potential hardware developers, so perhaps that functionality could be coming down the road.
Of course, really succeeding in that space will require both scalability and the ability to charge in bulk — $259 may be too rich for many companies’ blood.