Modular smartphones are popular, but what if the same could be accomplished on a smart wearable? Google’s Project Ara wants to let you snap together a phone or tablet with little modular add-ons, and Blocks wants you to have the same functionality for your wrist. The concept is similar to Project Ara, and equally attractive.
The entire project is still conceptual, but we should keep in mind that Project Ara is as well. Though Googlers tote around a 3D printed model of Ara, there has yet to be a working model. Blocks is in the same boat, with a concept video showing the aim. What we’re seeing is pretty ugly, to be honest, but we have big hopes for Blocks. In a time when each wearable hits or misses the mark — and never hits dead-on — a modular design could be the answer we’re looking for.
The wearable tech market is expected to mushroom-cloud over the next few years, so Blocks might be onto something really neat. It uses the watch band as modular pieces, which is both sublime and concerning. On one hand, it reduces unnecessary bulk, and that’s a good thing — but what about individual wrists? Adding too many pieces would just make the band massive.
Like Ara, anyone can build the little modular snap-ins for Blocks. The team behind Blocks say they have a working prototype, and plan to have it ready for release in mid-2015. They’re taking the crowdfunding route, but we’ve got no doubt that will be funded in short order. While not technically an original concept, it’s an amazing one, and should work just as well on your wrist as in your pocket.
So how much will it cost? Blocks’ Serge Vasylechko tells TechCrunch a basic package — processor, battery, and display — will cost about as much as a Pebble. “The price for additional blocks will vary by functionality, but be much lower than the former” he said, adding that they are currently working on a myriad of nagging issues before their Kickstarter launch.