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Blocks modular smartwatch to run Android Lollipop, uses Snapdragon 400 for brains
Last year we wrote about a new smartwatch concept from U.K. startup, Blocks Wearables, which aimed to bring modular technology to the smartwatch world in a manner somewhat similar to Google’s own Project Ara. At the time, the project was in very early stages, though the company said it had a working prototype and would be starting crowdfunding ‘soon’. It’s now June of 2015, and ‘soon’ has nearly arrived.
The Blocks team has now shared some new details about their upcoming project, namely that it will run on a modified version of Android Lollipop and will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with peripheral modules using ultra-low-power processors to communicate with the watch. Why Lollipop instead of Android Wear? Blocks says a Lollipop-based custom UI will allow for more flexibility and functionality, since AW doesn’t support things like cellular connectivity and would likely be harder to get working with the watch’s hot- swappable modules.
The watch itself will be quite basic out of the box, but the startup is planning modules for additional battery power, heart rate monitors, and much more. Even the display is a module, though at this point the only option is a circular color touchscreen (with others planned for the future). The customization aspects of the Blocks watch will go beyond just the hardware modules you choose, as Blocks is partnering with UK jewelry brand Tateossian to offer a range of colored and textured shells to further enhance the look and feel of the watch modules.
As for when the long-promised crowdfunding campaign will start? Blocks says they will kick off the campaign this summer. This is a little later than they originally planned, but the manufacturer ran into a few delays when securing manufacturing agreements and other partnerships. Now that all the partnerships needed have been secured, Blocks promises production will go quickly and smoothly, with the aim of shipping devices around seven to eight months after the funding campaign ends.
Providing costs aren’t too high and they are able to showcase some cool module ideas, would anyone get behind this project? Let us know in the comments.