Modular technology is quickly shifting from niche idea to shipping product, and one company, has announced a partnership with Qualcomm to make it a reality.
Blocks Wearables, a Taiwan-based accessory manufacturer, has announced that it will launch a crowdfunding campaign later this summer to raise money for its first modular smartwatch, which will feature a circular colour display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip and a variation of Android OS that, while not based on Android Wear, should offer many of the same functions.
The core module, which will live under the screen, will feature the aforementioned screen and processor, plus memory, a battery of unknown size, and chips for WiFi, Bluetooth and motion. Like Android Wear, it will also sport a microphone to accept voice input.
The true modularity comes in the strap elements, which Blocks is working with Tateossian, a British jewelry design firm, to create. These “shells” latch together to allow for various functions and designs. For example, users will be able to swap out screens – circular is default, but there are square and rectangle variants to suit different tastes – and add extra batteries, sensors for temperature, altitude and pressure, GPS for training, a flash light for security, a heart rate monitor for health and more.
Blocks isn’t saying how much each module will cost, but it says it plans to release a developer toolkit alongside the device to add use cases to the hardware.
The goal, similar to Pebble’s Smartstraps, is to create a user-generated series of hardware and software modules that work in a variety of useful ways depending on the needs of the person.