The Blocks smartwatch is nearly here, and the modular smartwatch has been going through some changes since we last saw it, as the company prepares for deliveries to start in the fall. Best compared to Google’s Project Ara, the Blocks smartwatch uses modules to expand its functionality, so you can tailor it to work in the way you want. Now we’ve got the chance to see a close-to-final version in action, in a specially made video showing the device.
What’s new? Blocks has been hard at work getting the design of the watch, strap, and modules exactly right. It’s arguably the most important part, because wearables are useless if we don’t want to wear them. The round body is stainless steel and contains an AMOLED display, and crucially the modules have been reduced in size, which consequently should mean the strap is sensibly sized.
The smaller modules have a new connector, about which Blocks hasn’t given much detail, saying only that connecting and disconnecting them is completed in a single action, and reassuring us the strap itself is strong enough to last. The modules you’ll be clipping on to Blocks add GPS, a heart rate sensor, a sensor for measuring temperature, humidity, and altitude, along with a flashlight and a single button that can be programmed to launch certain functions.
You can have as many or as few modules attached as you like, and if you don’t bother with any, then the Blocks watch just operates as a simple smartwatch. It doesn’t run Android Wear, but an open source platform of the company’s own design. Google’s wearable platform isn’t set up to deal with the modular system.
The final versions have recently reached Blocks, ready for testing, and should everything be up to standard the watch will go into mass production. Once underway, deliveries will take place before the end of the year. If you missed out on picking up a Blocks smartwatch during the Kickstarter campaign, it can be pre-ordered here for $330 with four compatible modules.