BLOCKS modular smartwatch announces partnership with EE for a connected smartwatch
Having reached $1.2 million on Kickstarter, the company announces partnerships with major technology companies to build more modules for its open modular platform
London — November 9, 2015 – Today, Blocks Wearables announces a
number of partnerships with leading technology companies:
- Cellular connectivity will be provided by EE in the U.K. (EE is the largest mobile network operator in the U.K.)
- Advanced heart rate monitoring module with Pixart Imaging, a leading provider of optical sensors, with inbuilt tri-LED pulse sensor
- Biometric Authentication via fingerprint module to be made available with BioConnect Entertech Systems, a pioneer in intelligent identity management
- Easily customizable and removable covers for each module with British luxury jeweller, Tateossian
Open Hardware Platform
BLOCKS is an open platform, meaning that any company or individual can develop modules for its modular smartwatch. Access to the platform will be opened in two stages; the first wave of module development with large consumer and enterprise companies opens today, with stage two opening up public access for the development of a variety of modules after first shipment in May 2016. BLOCKS anticipates modules to be built for gaming, sports, healthcare, the workplace, or even experimental ones for advancing academic research.
“BLOCKS open platform provides companies with a fast, low cost, low risk entry into the wearable devices market; and even more choice of features for its users. ”
Serge Didenko and Alireza Tahmaseb, founders of Blocks Wearables
“Connected, wearable devices like BLOCKS are changing the way we interact with the world around us. Using the EE Connect platform, BLOCKS is connecting their new smartwatch with fastest, largest and most reliable network in the UK, opening up new module and feature possibilities for their developer community, and ensuring their customers can get the most out of this exciting new device.”
Jason Bellman, Director of M2M and MVNO at EE
Open Software Platform
BLOCKS smartwatch runs on modified Android OS, built by a spinout company of Android Wear developers at Google, Cronologics, allowing anyone to build connected apps for the watch. With over 1,500 individual developers already signed up, BLOCKS will be releasing their Software Development Kit (SDK) to their community in April 2016.
Open Design Platform
The company has gone one step further in its design to continue modularity in both functionality and visual appearance. Users can not only choose functional modules, but also easily customize the appearance of Embargoed until 9am PST/5pm GMT/12pm EDT 9 November 2015 their watch with removable covers to suit individual tastes. BLOCKS is partnered with Tateossian, a British jewellery and accessories brand, to create luxury covers for each module, allowing a mix of different colours, textures and materials. When the time comes for an upgrade, the watch owners can simply replace the technology in each module with new sensors, keeping the luxury look of their watch intact.
“Until now, the inconvenience of having to replace an expensive
smartwatch every year due to new upgrades in technology has been one
of the major drawbacks of smartwatches, particularly in the luxury
Serge Didenko and Alireza Tahmaseb, Founders at Blocks Wearables
BLOCKS is opening its design the world, making itself an open platform. This means that any designer or individual would be able to build customizable covers for the smartwatch. 3D printed precious metals, stones such as ruby or sapphire or carved from wood, would all be possible with the open design. Users will also be able to swap customizable covers for different occasions, making their watch truly customizable in both functionality and style.
Tateossian shells are presented in rhodium plated brass with different colours of enamel over sheets of alutex to give a luxurious carbon fibre effect. A limited edition version of the shells is also being introduced inset with a micro pave of black and white diamonds.
BLOCKS Kickstarter campaign, launched on 13 October, has reached it’s funding goal of $250,000 in just 56 minutes and $1million in just one week.
In partnership with one of the world’s largest manufacturers, Compal Electronics, and supported by ARM & Qualcomm, BLOCKS smartwatches will ship to backers in May 2016.
The core module – the watchface – is a fully functioning smartwatch on its own and has all the features of a standard smartwatch, such as phone notifications, activity tracking and voice control. The additional modules make BLOCKS unique. Using the space around the wrist, users can build a smartwatch that suits their lifestyle by combining modules. Blocks Wearables announced 5 modules during its campaign: extra battery module, GPS module, Heart Rate Monitoring module, NFC contactless payments module and Adventurer module (barometric pressure sensor/external temperature).