If you are among the Modular Smartphone fans who are currently having a bad hangover from Google I/O 2016, them the Blocks Modular Smartwatch might just be the hangover cure you’ve been looking for.
Unlike other modular devices that have not been doing so well to appeal to fans, the team over at BLOCKS seems to be on the right track. BLOCKS started off with a huge Kickstarter success where they managed to secure a successful pledge of $1,613,874, 645.55% of their initial goal of $250,000 from 5063 backers.
The BLOCKS team has been hard at work on their device and has just released a video showing off its latest factory ready model.
So what’s new on the latest factory ready version of BLOCKS?
First, lets start with the design! The entire watch looks noticeably more refined. The version we saw at Kickstarter seems a bit bulkier in comparison. This new version definitely goes a long way in making the BLOCKS modular smartwatch look much more like something you would want to wear, it has a quite nice and sleek look which is not what we had expected from a modular wearable tech.
I am also digging the bottom of the main core module which is made out of stainless steel and contains the BLOCKS logo.
Module connectors and contacts
In this intro video we get to see the final version of the module connectors, contacts, and how they will work. How the BLOCKS modules will be connected was always a question on the minds of Kickstarter supporters and fans, since this could very well determine the overall strength and durability of the device.
What we saw at the BLOCKS modular smartwatch Kickstarter campaign was a pin used to slide through two modules to secure them in place, much like that of a simple wrist watch.
Again, BLOCKS seems to have done a good job in making a much better module connector for the final factory version of the device, at least it looks that way, without actually trying the device we can’t know for sure. For connecting the modules, what you see in the image is a new connector which kind of hooks the module in place. The BLOCKS team explained that “it is composed of a pair of structural arms extending from the modules that are held together by spring loaded pins on an adjacent module.”
A Closer look at the connector
But how will the watch be adjustable to fit all wrist sizes?
After much research BLOCKS chose to go with what they term as a simple yet very effective solution in the form of an Adjustable Clasp.
“The clasp, made from black flexible silicon, comes in 2 halves, that you can connect to the terminating modules of your watch, and are secured together using a pin and slot mechanism.”
BLOCKS Custom Android OS
BLOCKS has revealed that they are currently working on a custom version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, in the intro video we got a small glimpse of what looks like a custom watch face which contains links to three apps. I would guess that these apps are: weather, phone and calendar/scheduler (possibly a calendar which allows scheduling of events). I am also going to make a lucky guess and assume that the phone app is linked to a GSM module.
Here are a few pics taken from the BLOCKS design document that BLOCKS shared on their Kickstarter page:
“With a highly sensitive touch panel and a specially designed bezel, BLOCKS is perfectly suitable for circular movements for interface navigation. Above is one of the provisional proposals put forward by our team.”
“Here you can see one of the three proposals for UX interactions for entering/exiting apps.”
“We are thinking of novel ways for making simple, yet highly functional and customizable watchfaces. These are some of the rules we may introduce to developers when designing app icons.”
An Example of How BLOCKS App drawer will work
Charging the BLOCKS modular smartwatch
As you can see in the video above, BLOCKS has five metal contacts on the bottom of the core module, a click-on dock is used to connect to these metal contacts which then charges the device.
Updated Core module specifications of the BLOCKS modular smartwatch
- Display – 1.39” AMOLED Display 400 x 400 Round Display 2-point touch with wet finger
- Processor – Qualcomm APQ8009w 512MB RAM
- Sensors – G sens + Gyro, E-Compass
- Battery – 300 mAh Battery
- Connectivity – WIFI 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (BLE)
- Dimension – Length: 25.23 mm, Width: 30.8 mm, Thickness: 7.95 (maximum) mm
- Material – Stainless Steel (top and bottom casing)
- Other – Vibration Motor, 4GB Flash (ePOP), 1 Microphone, 1 Power On/Off, Button, Splash resistant, Android Marshmallow
Current Cost Of a BLOCKS modular Smartwatch
BLOCKS can be pre-ordered now for $330, this price also includes four modules of your choice. Current available modules are: Extra battery, Heart Rate module, GPS module, Adventure module, Flashlight module and Programmable button module. To find out more about these modules and to pre-order your very own BLOCKS modular smartwatch please follow this link.
When will BLOCKS be shipped?
In an update posted in February on the BLOCKS Kickstarter page BLOCKS explained how they have made some very important advancements with their modular smartwatch and due to these advancements more testing will need to be done. So as a result of more testing the shipping of BLOCKS modular smartwatch to Kickstarter backers was moved from the end of May to September of this year.
BLOCKS Modular Smartwatch | Official Preview | June 2016
I am very impressed with the BLOCKS modular smartwatch and i personally look forward to trying one when it becomes available.
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