After nearly two years of development, BLOCKS has now arrived on Kickstarter. Google ATAP has delayed the Project Ara, but BLOCKS, instead, is ready to mass production.
The BLOCKS smartwatch will be made up of a number of modules and users will be able to customize according to their needs.
In particular the Core module is based on a circular colour touchscreen and performs most functions of current smartwatches and the strap is made up of several modules with different functions, for example a GPS sensor or an heart rate monitor. BLOCKS units are hot swappable and easily replaceable. You don’t need to restart the watch when you connect a new module.
BLOCKS will have a variety of apps on launch, equivalent to a standard smartwatch, such as notifications, activity tracking, calendar, smartphone camera control, call from phone, voice search, voice memos, maps, payments, alarm timer, environment tracking.
The core of the smartwatch runs a modified version of Android Lollipop with an elegant interface. These are its tech specs:
– 1.34” diameter TFT display (320 X 290)
– Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad-core processor
– WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
– Microphone for voice messages / memos / voice controls
– 1,5 days battery life (400 mAh)
– Vibration motor for notifications
– 512 MB RAM / 4 GB Flash memory
In the crowdfunding campaign, you can buy the core module and any number of the following modules:
– Battery block (Each extra battery module gives at least 20% more charge)
– Heart rate module
– GPS module
– NFC Contactless payments block
– Activity Module (pressure, altitude and temperature)
Other modules will be released if the campaign receives enough support:
– SIM/ GSM Module (You will send and receive your messages or reply to emails with voice.)
– Fingerprint Module to authenticate contactless payments
– Led module for notifications or use it as a torch
– Programmable button module.
Currently, BLOCKS is compatible with iOS and Android devices. The company is developing an open platform, enabling anyone to make their own modules. They have already partnered with major tech companies to develop more functions and have over 1,500 individual developers signed up. The Software Development Kit (SDK) and the Module Development Kit (MDK) will be available soon. An air quality sensor, a camera module, a Flash memory block, are just some of the modules that you could have from the third party developers in the not too distant future.
In the future, the company will also develop new Cores with different types of display (E-ink or rectangular).
This smartwatch can accommodate between majority of wrist sizes, 140mm-200mm in circumferences, and it has an ergonomic shape to be comfortable to wear in any configuration with an adjustable clasp. Small wrist would comfortably fit 4 additional modules in addition to the Core unit and individuals with larger wrists could fit up to 5 modules.
The company has also developed the BLOCKStore. It will enable developers and companies to sell their own modules and you’ll also be able to trade in your old blocks to make sure that nothing is wasted.
This modular watch will arrive on the market in May 2016. It’s now available on Kickstarter in different configurations:
– BLOCKS Core + a strap without other modules for $195
– BLOCKS Core + 4 modules of your choice for $250/275
– PLATINUM PACK ($445): BLOCKS core with 4 modules of your choice + the next 3 modules the company will release + a personalized watchface + your name engraved on the Core block.
You can also purchase additional modules for 30 $ each.
In conclusion, this smartwatch has an impressive potential. BLOCKS, lets you design your own watch. “It is more sustainable, better for the environment and the consumer: modular means less upgrades and more choice” said the company.
The original article was posted on the Phonebloks Blog.