Blocks Wearables, a team of UK-based engineers and designers, is bringing modular design to smartwatches. Interchangeable modules built into the watchband aim to add new customization and functionalities to wrist wearables.
Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, the smartwatch will run a custom version of Android Lollipop, which supports both Android and iOS smartphones. The first Blocks watch face will use a circular color touchscreen that includes the processor, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, a motion sensor, a microphone, and the main battery. This main module will handle most tasks: delivering notifications, handling voice commands, and tracking activity. The company plans to offer two other watch faces after launch with both square and rectangular screens.
Here’s where things get interesting: users can customize the Blocks Modular Smartwatch to a degree not possible with other models, thanks to its modularity. That comes in the form of interchangeable electronics that are built into the links of the wristband and connected via flexible circuits. The modules, which can be swapped in and out without powering off the watch, add extra features, including GPS location services, NFC for contactless payments, and cellular connectivity—all with the support of the Snapdragon processor. Battery life and memory can be extended easily just by adding the right modules. One day your Blocks smartwatch can focus on fitness tracking; the next day, it could transform into a workplace helper.
Even with all the added functionality and customization made possible by modular design, the Blocks smartwatch doesn’t skimp on style. The company has partnered with UK jewelry maker Tateossian to make removable shells for each module, allowing owners to personalize the look of their smartwatches with various materials, textures, and colors.
The Blocks Modular Smartwatch is expected to be sold initially via an unspecified crowdfunding campaign later this summer. If this sounds like the kind of wearable you’ve been waiting for, you can provide your email address at the top of the front page of the Blocks Wearables website and reserve an early-bird discount.
Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.