Smartwatches and wearable devices in general, which are really small electronics gadgets that can be worn in several ways such as a smart watch, a smart ring or bracelet, smart glasses and so on, are becoming more relevant every day, thanks to several big players in the industry putting their focus and industrial power behind them. Today we have a lot to choose from as most major Android manufacturer have their own smartwatch, usually powered by Android Wear. However, it is always impossible to meet the needs of everyone, so manufacturers bundle their devices with anything they can, in the hopes of pleasing more consumers. Then we have the idea of modular hardware products, which are made up of smaller independent components that can be swapped and upgraded individually, instead of having to buy a whole new product.
Not long ago a London-based startup launched a Kickstarter campaign for a modular smartwatch called BLOCKS, which offers a concept similar to that of Project Ara smartphone from Google. The timepiece got some good media attention and their funding well exceeded their $250,000 goal with $1,411,479 raised so far – and they still have 9 days to go until the campaign ends. The fact that they managed to raise that much money got the attention of big tech companies and the startup announced yesterday several collaborations to boost their device. The modules are attached together to form the strap, and a very interesting and useful one offers cellular connectivity, which will be offered by AT&T in the U.S. Other important collaborations announced by Blocks Wearables are a heart-rate monitor from Pixart Imaging, a fingerprint authentication module and customizable and removable covers for each module in partnership with British luxury jeweler, Tateossian.
BLOCKS modular smartwatch comes with some pretty interesting hardware, featuring a Snapdragon 400 processor from Qualcomm, which is also a partner of the company. The device runs a modified version of mainstream Android, instead of the usual Android Wear platform and it will be compatible with both Android and iOS. If you are interested in this nice smartwatch, there's still time to become a backer and get it for $195. For this amount, you get a BLOCKS core and a simple strap, which can be replaced by modules in the future. For $285 you get the basic watch plus 4 modules, and for $530 you get two units and their modules. Shipping should begin by May 2016 for all backers.