Not put off by no-one wanting to wear the Puls smart “cuff;” musician, television personality, tech visionary, and entrepreneur Will.i.am is back with another wearable device. It’s called the i.am+ Dial, and so far it’s an exclusive to the U.K. phone network Three, and it works completely independently of your phone, because it has its own SIM card.
Due to its independence, the Dial has its own operating system, rather than using something sensible like Android Wear. However, Will.i.am doesn’t want you touching the 1.63-inch AMOLED screen, he wants you to talk to the Dial. AneedA is the name of the voice-activated operating system installed on the watch, and you must bark orders at your wrist like a mad person to get it doing what you want.
For example, saying “dial,” and the name of the person you’d like to contact will start a phone call, while adding “play” before the song or artist of your choice will start the music app. There’s 32GB of internal storage to fill, but more interestingly, the Dial includes access to an i.am+-backed ad-free music streaming service with no additional cost. A pair of Will.i.am’s EP Bluetooth earphones will be packed with the Dial, for easy hands-free listening.
The Dial also has GPS for navigation, a Snapdragon 400 processor with 2GB of RAM, an IP54 water resistance rating, plus a 2-megapixel camera. Yes, you can even tell AneedA to take a selfie. An 800mAh battery will keep the Dial operational, but it’s not mentioned for how long. With GPS, an always-listening assistant, and 3G connectivity, more than a day may be very optimistic.
How much is the Dial? It’s quite a lot, thanks to that SIM card inside. Three’s only offering it with a contract, therefore pushing it as a phone replacement rather than an accessory. It’s £50 (about $73) with a two-year plan that varies from £24 ($35) to £50 ($73) each month, depending on your data needs. That means the Dial may end up costing £1,250, or approximately $1,820 in total.
It’s up for pre-order now with a delivery date of May 13, if square, expensive wearables with proprietary software that you’ll look stupid using is your thing.