Back in 2014 a company called Rufus launched a crowdfunding campaign for a wrist computer called the Rufus Cuff. At a time when the Pebble Steel was pretty much state of the art in the smartwatch space (and a year before the first Apple Watch was announced), the Rufus Cuff was… a very different take on wearables.
With a 3.2 inch touchscreen display and an Android-based operating system, it was big, clunky, and more of a Pip-Boy than a watch.
But the biggest problem with the Rufus Cuff is that it never actually shipped. After raising close to half a million dollars, Rufus failed to deliver anything to backers of the Rufus Cuff Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
Now, six years later, Rufus is back. And surprisingly the company is actually promising to send devices to folks who backed that campaign six years ago.
At some point in time, Rufus seems to have pivoted from a consumer-oriented company into one that provides wearables for commercial and government customers. Products include a version of the Rufus Cuff that, for example, warehouse workers can strap to a wrist to keep track of inventory, a Rufus Ring barcode scanner that you wear on a finger, and a Rufus ScanGlove with a built-in barcode scanner.
After shafting crowdfunding backers for the past six years, the company is now promising to deliver Rufus Cuff hardware to the first 500 backers starting this summer.
The good news is that the hardware has been updated with a faster processor, more memory and storage, a bigger battery, and slightly less outdated Android software. There’s even now support for connecting to 3G and 4G LTE as well as support for GPS and a heart-rate sensor.
But I wonder how many people who spent $229 or more to reserve one of these things six years ago still wants a wrist-computer in 2020.
Here’s a run-down of the updated specs if anyone cares:
- 2.9 inch display
- 1.5 GHz quad-core processor
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB storage
- 2,800 mAh battery
- 2.4 GHz/5.0 GHz WiFi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 3G/4G LTE
- 5MP camrea
- Mic & speaker
- Metal watch housing
- IP67 water resistance
- Android 7.1 Nougat (w/Google Play Store)
Rufus has started notifying backers via email. A scan of recent comments on the crowdfunding campaign says some of those backers remain skeptical.
Some imagine that the “new” model is just a rebranded Lemfo LEM T, which is a 4G-enabled Android 7.1 watch with a 2.86 inch display. A 3GB/32GB model sells for around $190, and the rest of the specs seem to line up with what Rufus is promising.