Remember the Blocks modular smartwatch we featured last year? Well, we’ve got more good news about the first wearable device from the company. The project will be released through a crowdfunding site later this summer. It will run the latest Android Lollipop OS and will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. This information was shared during the Computex 2015 event in Taiwan where Qualcomm shared more details about the wearable in a keynote.
The modular smartwatch is really a smart idea. It features a circular color display which will act as the ‘core module’. This is similar to the ‘endo module’ of the Project Ara where more features are added or attached to. The core module will include different features like Bluetooth, motion sensor, WiFi, mic, main battery, and the processor. All these and more will make the core module perform as any ordinary smartwatch.
The smartwatch can receive notifications, understand voice commands, and track health and fitness activities. Making this more powerful is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor that is also powering the latest Android Wear devices. Other specs include Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, NFC, GSM, and GPS support.
Meanwhile, there are snappable modules that can add more functionality like cellular connectivity, location tracking, and contactless payments among others. The idea is to make the more versatile wearable ever–very much like the Project Ara.
ARM’s Vice President for Segment Marketing Ian Ferguson shared:
“The wearables market is in an incredibly exciting phase and will see a diverse range of forms and functionalities. Their one commonality is that all will require ultra-low power intelligence to ensure battery life is attractive to end users. Blocks’ modular approach is a great example of the creativity and innovation that is possible on the ARM architecture.”
The Blocks Wearables smartwatch will be compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones but it will run Android Lollipop OS. Note that it will be a special Android version and not Android Wear. We can expect ability to hot-swap modules without turning off the device, custom graphical layer for circular display, and longer battery life.
And to make the wearable device more personalized, there are customizable removable shells for each module created by British jewellery and accessories brand Tateossian. Blocks partnered with the company to allow owners to mix and match colors, materials, and textures. The removable shells allow anyone to personalize a Blocks smartwatch.
Blocks also teamed up and signed a deal with Compal. It is one of the biggest manufacturers of devices like smartphones, laptops, and smartwatches based in Taiwan. This original design manufacturer (ODM) handles the production of consumer electronics from bigger brands like HP, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, and Acer.