Startup gives the Apple Watch two cameras by hiding them inside the band

The Apple Watch puts iPhone convenience on the wrist, but one of the watch’s shortcomings — compared to Apple smartphones anyway — is that it lacks a camera. One startup is working to change that by adding two cameras to a strap.

The CMRA Apple Watch band has an eight-megapixel front-facing camera on the outside of the wrist along with a two-megapixel camera toward the top of the watch screen for selfies. Both cameras are powered by Sony-designed sensors. The band also packs in 8GB of memory to store those shots in and also syncs images with the photo gallery inside the Apple Watch and an iPhone.

Designed by the instant video messaging company Glide, the watch band is designed for quick video chats as well as any smartphone-style snapshots. The camera is operated with a single button on the band, with one tap to take a photo or a longer press to start a video. A double-tap swaps between the two cameras.

The band’s designers worked to keep the CMRA slim and flexible, packing most of the hardware toward the watch base, as well as working to avoid the Google Glass privacy issue of consumers being uncomfortable when you cannot tell if you are on camera. Reaching for that button with the opposite hand — which also helps to stabilize the footage — makes it a bit more obvious and there is a green light that indicates recording as well.

The built-in battery is good for a few hundred photos or a 30-minute video, designers say. The pre-orders are also shipping with a dual charger that powers both the watch and the camera band.

Expected to ship in the spring of 2017, the CMRA band should retail for $249  — which, of course, does not include the Apple Watch — with pre-orders going for as much as $100 off.

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