Last week word got out that Facebook was taking another big step into first-party hardware with the planned launch of its own smartwatch. The most intriguing part of the report was the inclusion of not one but two cameras. Other wearable makers have flirted with video and images on wrist-worn devices, but the feature is far from mainstream.
Industry leader Apple certainly doesn’t seem to be rushing into the idea, so Wristcam went and did it for them with the launch of a band sporting its own camera capable of shooting 4K images and 1080p video. The product launched late last year, following a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Now its makers are going a more traditional funding route, announcing a $25 million raise led by Marker LLC. “We will use the funding to scale our team, Wristcam production, go to market, and R&D of our computer vision engine for wearables,” CEO Ari Roisman told TechCrunch.
Part of that funding involves effectively doubling the company’s headcount by early next year and helping deliver updates to some of the demands and concerns that have arisen since the product’s “public beta” launch in December.
Among the forthcoming features are live video. The company says it has sold “thousands” of units, which currently retail for $299 through the Wristcam site — so $20 more than a Watch SE. The company says it ran into COVID-19 supply chain issues earlier this year, but has pushed through and is now fulfilling orders daily.
In spite of Facebook’s apparent interest in wrist-base imaging, Roisman says he’s not concerned about possible Sherlock from Apple.
“I see camera continuing to be a core part of the iPhone strategy, with DSLR quality equivalence, including Pro offerings priced north of $1,000,” the exec says. “Meanwhile, I see continued Apple Watch focus on quantified health and wellness, as opposed to power, data and real estate intensive functionality that could conflict with the iPhone strategy.”