Apart from modular phones other customizable devices are actively being designed at present time. One of them is a modular smartwatch by the company Blocks Wearables.
The concept of Blocks smartwatch is the same as Project Ara’s. Users can customize their smartwatches with interchangeable parts. Those parts are reportedly to be called ‘blocks’, speaking of the smartwatch (remember that modular smartphone interchangeable parts are called ‘modules’). But the difference is not only in names, but approaches as well. The concept of the modular phone suggests that the modules are attached to the metal plate, called ‘base’. But in the case of the modular smartwatch the blocks are the components of the strap. The heart of Block is the watch dial, a specific module contains the screen and main hardware components. But such modules as the fingerprint sensor, extra battery, health sensor, NFC chip for contactless payments, flashlight, kinetic charging, SIM port, etc. could be used to assemble the strap.
The company says that a display module, clasp and four peripheral modules will fit nicely around a small-sized wrist, while the person with bigger wrist will be able to add an extra fifth Block.
Hakeem Javaid, a creative mind behind modular wearable devices, says in his blog that Blocks smartwatches will be based on an open platform, which allows any company or individual to build blocks with awesome tech we can’t even imagine.
Because wearables are considered not just devices, but also fashion pieces, Blocks watches are made in such way that each block has removable covers, meaning the look of the device is also customisable.
Hakeem Javaid points out that design and hardware development stages are currently in great progress, so the company is focused more on the software development at this time. Blocks Wearables is currently aiming to base its operating system on Tizen OS, and is working towards supporting Android, iOS and Windows Phone as well.
Blocks team, UK-based according to Intel’s website, took part in recent Intel’s Make It Wearable challenge, and ended up as one of the top 10 finalists. This got them not only funding prize of $50,000 for the project development needs, but Intel has also provided Blocks with its latest processors. The team was represented by the captain Serge Vasylechko, and two members Hakeem Javaid and Omer Al Fakir. Right now the team consists of 16 developers and designers, and it is growing.
Blocks Wearables plans to launch the Block on Kickstarter in June 2015. The watch will appear on the market by the end of 2015. Watch dial, the core component with either an e-ink or LCD display, will be priced around $150, add-on modules will cost between $20 and $40. The company says the price of the complete set will range between $200 and $300.