Move over, Project Ara, there’s a new modular device in town. It’s called Blocks, and it wants to do for smartwatches what Project Ara plans to do for Android smartphones.
Launching on Kickstarter this week, the smartwatch is composed of two distinct parts: the watch face — or the Core, as the company calls it — and the metal band links that help make it modular.
That said, adding modules greatly increases the functionality of the base unit. On the simpler side, there’s the battery module, which extends the day-and-a-half battery life of the Core’s 400 mAh battery by about 20 percent. However, more sophisticated links allow users to add features like fingerprint recognitions and near field communication for about $30 USD per module. Depending on the size of your wrist, Blocks says you’ll able to use three to four modules to create the watch’s band.
Down the line, the company even plans to release a software and module development kit that will allow third-parties to create their own modules, which will be sold through the soon to be released Blockstore. Users will also be able to use the Blockstore to trade modules.
In terms of software, like Pebble, Blocks runs on its own operating system that is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones.
Blocks is currently available to pre-order through Kickstarter. As of the writing of this piece, the company’s crowdfunding campaign has raised $380,000, surpassing its initial $250,000 goal. The campaign closes in 37 days and the company plans to start shipping the watch to backers in May 2016.
Update – October 22nd: Block’s has blown through its fundraising target and nine days in it’s crossed over the $1,000,000 milestone with over 3,351 backers.