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Shell is an unusual mash-up of smartwatch and smartphone

When is a smartwatch not a smartwatch? When it’s also a smartphone! That’s the pitch behind Shell, a new mobile device which promises to combine both devices into one, slightly unusual multi-purpose device that can be both worn on your wrist or detached from its cradle-like wrist mount and then held up to year ear to make a regular (or, well, semi-regular) cell phone.

“Shell is a truly independent and fully functional smartwatch that tackles one of the major limitations of independent wearables,” creator Azar Talibzade told Digital Trends. “At the beginning, smartwatches evolved primarily as fitness trackers or notification centers. Currently, we’re seeing a movement toward independent call-capable watches that can exist without needing to be physically near a user’s smartphone.

Shell is a natural extension to this evolution, and provides users with a full-size smartphone at the push of a button. While this was the primary drive for developing Shell, other exciting features include manual emergency charging, a 360-degree rotating camera, and crystal-clear calls thanks to the stand-alone antenna. We’ve also made sure that these benefits can be brought to existing smartwatch owners by creating custom adaptors for top brands, such as Apple Watch, Moto 360, Samsung Gear, LG G Watch and Huawei Watch.”

Other than its unusual design, the device’s “manual emerging charging” is its most unique feature. It allows users to generate extra battery life by flexing the gadget’s “wings” up and down — with 3-5 minutes of flexing being enough to give you a few more minutes of phone time.

Shell will be available to pre-order on Indiegogo from January 31. The Universal Model, which lets users transform their existing smartwatch into a smartphone, will start at $150. The stand-alone Signature Model, meanwhile, comes with a starting price of $250, while the “military grade” Commando edition costs $400.

The idea of Shell is very interesting. The reality, though, is that despite its Dick Tracy cool, very few people like shouting at their wrist to take phone calls. But since switching between calls on a smartwatch and smartphone isn’t as seamless as it could be. in theory, that could make the concept of a device like Shell valuable. Whether this design is the right approach, however, and whether potential customers agree that this is a problem that needs solving, is something we’ll have to wait to find out.

With just weeks until the Indiegogo campaign kicks off, at least it’s not too long of a wait.

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