Say you’re a fan of good old fashioned analog watches, but you kind of like the idea of being able to view notifications, track fitness stats, and control music playback using a wrist-worn device.
Kairos has an interesting solution: keep your old watch, but replace the wrist strap with a smart band. The company is raising funds to launch a line of Kairos T-bands through crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
If the bands ship in April as expected, they’ll sell for $199 and up. But backers of the campaign can try to reserve one for a much lower price.
Using a special strap to add “smart” features to a watch is sort of like using a Roku to turn a standard TV into a smart TV without buying a set that has smart TV functions built in. You don’t need to replace the watch (or TV) you love and if the smart hardware or software feels obsolete in a few years you can upgrade without replacing the watch (or TV)… assuming there’s a compatible smart strap available in a few years.
Ordering a Kairos T-Band won’t save you a lot of money: the straps have most of the functionality of a full-fledged smartwatch and are priced like smartwatches.
The entry-level Kairos T-Band ND (the one that will have a suggested retail price of $199) doesn’t even have a display. This model has a vibrating motor and multi-color LED for notifications, sensors for fitness tracking, and up to 7 days of battery life.
Kairos has a second model called the T-Band HD (Hidden display) which has a list price of $249, but which is going for $179 on Indiegogo. This model is expected to ship in June and features LED panels built into the wrist band. When the screens are off, the band looks like the T-Band ND. But they can light up to provide notifications at a glance.
The T-Band OD has a PMOLED display, a touch sensor, and a microphone for voice input. It’ll eventually sell for $299, but campaign backers can try to snag one for $199.
Both of the models that feature displays have 200mAh batteries which should provide 2-3 days of battery life.
The bands feature ARM Cortex-M4 processors and Bluetooth low energy, support for push notifications from smartphone apps, features that let you use the T-bands to trigger photos from your smartphone or perform other remote control functions, and fitness tracking features powered by Misfit.
Kairos says the T-bands are designed to support a few mechanical and analog watches that the company is also offering through Indiegogo. But the team also plans to offer adapters that will let you attach the straps to a number of other watches from other manufacturers.
If you’re looking for a cheap smartwatch, there are certainly other options available: you can pick up a Pebble for as little as $100 (or less). And if you don’t want to wait months to get your hands on a smart wearable, there are plenty of Android Wear devices available today.
But for watch afficianados who just don’t think the current crop of smartwatches are up to snuff, the Kairos T-Band could be an interesting compromise.
I love my analog watch, but I like the idea of having a smart fitness band like the one without the display. I keep my cell phone away from me most of the time because I would rather not constantly be at anyone’s beckoned call at every moment of my day (I like my independence, and I have a work phone at work). So knowing the time without my phone near me is nice. This seems like a good solution but I worry about its thickness.
I wonder what percentage of the population still wears a watch? Now that I have another device that can tell me the time I’m very happy not wearing a watch, and have no desire to start strapping another device to my wrist.
Pulling a phone out to look at the time has never been a graceful solution.
I have gone without a watch for years as well, mostly for similar reasons – why strap on another device just to tell me the time when I have a cellphone to do this.
Well, I decided to try a wearable and now I don’t leave my house without it. Not just for the time, but it also shows me who is calling, silences my phone if I want it to, shows me the weather, forecasts and alerts me to changes I should take note of (like rain or snow), allows me to change music tracks, listens when I say “ok google” and does what I need it to…etc. etc. the list goes on. When my Note 4 gets Android 5.0, I’ll be able to add the watch as a trusted device so I don’t have to unlock my phone with my fingerprint but the lock will activate if I put the phone down and walk away for whatever reason.
Could I do without it? Absolutely. I’ve been doing it for years. I certainly won’t be going smartwatch-less now though. It may not be for everyone but it is certainly working out for me.
It’s a clever idea.
I hate how the electronics industry became all about accessories, and did so to the detriment of functionality and reason. Nowadays it seems like everything that gets made, gets made from the outside in … as if every thing is supposed to be worn and not used. I hate how aesthetic design is emphasized on as if the main purpose of consumer electronics is to allow some douche cunt nozzles to parade arguments as per the level of social eligibility they wish to be perceived as having, and to allow them to insinuate themselves as more elegant, privileged or sophisticated, than they really are. I hate the pseudo boutique user interfaces that were created expressly to mesmerize the masses of fashionista morons who “consume content” and contribute nothing but tweets, from a device made to veneer them with a sophisticated look, whenever they flash it, as opposed to affording them exceptional competencies to negotiate their environment with the help of a digital means of interpreting and processing data. I hate how the average cost of a smartphone, is 65% machining the irrelevantly bespoke aluminum case and the sapphire screen coating, and the fact that 99% of the programmers for mobile platforms, are waisting their abilities writing social trinkets and novelty “aps”.
(pan to) – Worthless, bleached teeth, unremarkable, non-contributing, double digit IQ moron, depicting the use of a useless piece of shit accessory and projecting a positive attitude about his carefree and elegant life. (end scene)
So buy a bracelet, and get to be a superfluous slow motion businesstard with suave hair and a nifty “conversation piece” on his wrist. Modern technology at it’s finest.
The band is going to have to be very thick to hold the electronics, display and battery. No matter how you dress it up it still will be a big clunky thing on your wrist. Interesting idea though. Maybe in a few years when they can make it usable and thin.
It’s all about marketing. Reminds me of th 1970s SNL fake ad that ends “The Triple-Trac. Because you’ll believe anything.”
I’m sure women will be thrilled by this ad. Not.
Because one watch and a clock on your phone isn’t enough to tell the time. This is getting ridiculous.
I don’t think this one tells the time.
well, smart watches are’t meant to just display time. luxury watches are also more than just about telling time either. different people have different reasons for wearing these products. Kairos just wants to help analog watch lovers to transition over to smart watches without losing out on what they love. 🙂
YES! I was thinking about this the other day, because I love my analog watch collection, and would only consider either an attractive watch or a smartwatch band like device such as this.
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