BLOCKS, the company behind an upcoming modular smartwatch which is currently near the end of its Kickstarter, has announced that it will collaborate with AT&T for cellular connectivity in the US. The smartwatch will also have a number of new modules, including a heart rate monitor, a fingerprint reader, and customizable and removable covers.
Leading off the new module is the advanced heart rate sensor, which features a tri-LED pulse sensor for accurate readings. For added security, BLOCKS users will have the option to add a fingerprint reader module. Finally, the company announced that each module will have customizable and removable covers courtesy of British jeweler Tateossian.
BLOCKS runs a modified version of Android, developed by former Google employees and Android Wear team members at a company called Cronologics. The watch will work with both iPhones and Android phones, and is expected to start shipping out to backers in May 2016.
BLOCKS modular smartwatch announces agreement with AT&T for a connected smartwatch
Having reached $1.2 million on Kickstarter, the company announces collaborations with major technology companies to build more modules for its open modular platform
London — November 9, 2015 – Today, Blocks Wearables announces a number of agreements with leading technology companies:
- Cellular connectivity will be provided by AT&T in the U.S.
- Advanced heart rate monitoring module with Pixart Imaging, a leading provider of optical sensors, with inbuilt tri-LED pulse sensor
- Biometric Authentication via fingerprint module to be made available with BioConnect Entertech Systems, a pioneer in intelligent identity management
- Easily customizable and removable covers for each module with British luxury jeweller, Tateossian
Open Hardware Platform
BLOCKS is an open platform, meaning that any company or individual can develop modules for its modular smartwatch. Access to the platform will be opened in two stages; the first wave of module development with large consumer and enterprise companies opens today, with stage two opening up public access for the development of a variety of modules after first shipment in May 2016. BLOCKS anticipates modules to be built for gaming, sports, healthcare, the workplace, or even experimental ones for advancing academic research.
"BLOCKS open platform provides companies with a fast, low cost, low risk entry into the wearable devices market; and even more choice of features for its users. " Serge Didenko and Alireza Tahmaseb, founders of Blocks Wearables
"A dedicated wireless connection allows people to enjoy the full features of their wearable, independent of a smartphone, providing the ultimate freedom and flexibility." said Chris Penrose, Senior Vice President of Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions Organization, AT&T Mobility. "BLOCKS is a great example of wearable innovation, working to provide people with a customizable smartwatch experience with an independent wireless connection through AT&T."
Open Software Platform
BLOCKS smartwatch runs on modified Android OS, built by a spinout company of Android Wear developers at Google, Cronologics, allowing anyone to build connected apps for the watch. With over 1,500 individual developers already signed up, BLOCKS will be releasing their Software Development Kit (SDK) to their community in April 2016.
Open Design Platform
The company has gone one step further in its design to continue modularity in both functionality and visual appearance. BLOCKS is also partnered with Tateossian, a British jewellery and accessories brand, to create luxury covers for each module, allowing a mix of different colours, textures and materials. Users can now not only choose functional modules, but also easily customize the appearance of their watch with removable covers to suit individual tastes.
BLOCKS Kickstarter campaign, launched on 13 October, has reached it's funding goal of $250,000 in just 56 minutes and $1million in just one week.
In partnership with one of the world's largest manufacturers, Compal Electronics, and supported by ARM & Qualcomm, BLOCKS smartwatches will ship to backers in May 2016.
The core module – the watchface – is a fully functioning smartwatch on its own and has all the features of a standard smartwatch, such as phone notifications, activity tracking and voice control. The additional modules make BLOCKS unique. Using the space around the wrist, users can build a smartwatch that suits their lifestyle by combining modules. Blocks Wearables announced 5 modules during its campaign: extra battery module, GPS module, Heart Rate Monitoring module, NFC contactless payments module and Adventurer module (barometric pressure sensor/external temperature).
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