There’s nothing like a little LTE to warm you up on a cold day. Your phone may already come with a data connection, but now your coat can, too. This is the ‘M’ by Motiif. Labeled as the “first smart trench coat” from the “first fashionable tech company,” it has a built-in phone charger and can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for any devices you have, all while presumably looking fabulous.
The coat is made of “100 percent waterproof nano-infused fabric” to protect its and your electronics and may be just the first of a complete smart wardrobe from Motiif. It comes with three months of 1GB of free 4G, provided by a company called Karma, which runs off of Sprint’s network. It claims this is available in 80 cities in the country, but we don’t know if it works on all of Sprint’s different network technologies. After three months, your coat will require a $14 monthly subscription to keep giving you 1GB of data, which is (sort of) more expensive than Sprint’s typical tablet plans, which start at $15 for 2GB of data. But if you’re going to buy a super smart trench coat, you had best shell out for its wireless connection.
Battery life is said to be 6-8 hours, but we also don’t know if one battery powers a charger and the hotspot, or if they are separate. There is a big pocket for the charger and it works with any Micro USB charging device, and the iPhone 4 – 5S. Motiif.us says your phone can charge “wirelessly” but it appears that you do need to connect your phone physically to a charger inside the breast pocket.
We hope that Motiif will create a smart coat rack next, so we can easily charge our smart trench coats.
“This isn’t just a coat with charging and Wi-Fi, it’s about the future of clothing … and how clothing will communicate with each other and the end user,” Motiif founder Rafael Balbi told Laptop Mag. “We are building it, because it’s an entry point for a system of wearable technology we are developing that lets the user learn more about themselves and what’s going on in the environment around them.”
Right now, Motiif is searching for 300 or so “Alpha Testers” to bug test the new coat for two weeks at a time and give feedback. If the coat doesn’t continuously reboot, lose its connection, or face delays, Balbi says it will arrive in Feb. 2014 for about the price of a standard trench coat, which we guess will be somewhere between $150 – $350. You can sign up for the Alpha program here.
While it would be nice if a smart coat would be smart enough to heat itself, that’s probably not in the cards. Next up will be a “high tech furniture company” creating a smart coat rack so we can easily charge our smart trench coats. Then maybe some smart pants to help keep the smart coat charged on the go and smart drawers to power them at night. At this pace, in a few years we’ll be happily brushing our teeth with lithium ion batteries.