#Trending: Putting a ring on it

It seems that everyone and his dog has a smart ring up his sleeve
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Smart rings have taken over. You can't move in the streets without tripping over piles of discarded smart rings from 2014 following the bombardment of new, next-generation, devices. Amazon has even opened up a new smart ring store.

But while none of those statements are actually true – one thing is: there have been a heck of a lot of smart ring announcements as of late – even Apple is looking to get in on the action… maybe.

At the tail end of 2014 and the beginning of this year, we saw a lot of smart rings come and go. But while Altruis impressed and Ringly intrigued, the Mota failed to materialise and the plainly-named Ring was described as "the worst product ever made".

But what of the new crop of smart rings? Should we use them to turn our digits digital, or ignore them and hope they go away? Read on to find out…

WEAR – NFC Ring 2

#Trending: Putting a ring on it

A couple of years ago, the NFC Ring walloped its Kickstarter goal and is now back with a new design, better range, and more storage.

The NFC Ring 2 boasts a tweaked antenna with up to three times the range of its predecessor so it can be used with devices with weak NFC signals, or smartphones with thicker cases. It's essentially the same deal - you can use it to unlock your phone or your smart lock, or control smart accessories in your home.

What's more, the company recently teamed up with fashion goliath House of Holland for a super stylish proof-of-concept, that was shown off at London Fashion Week in September. "I was very clear that I didn't want to create something that looked like wearable tech," Henry Holland told Wareable, when talking about the (not for sale, sadly) design additions he added to the ring.

"We're at the stage where it has its own kind of recognisable look. If you are a vain, fashion conscious customer you wouldn't necessarily want to wear some of the mass market pieces of wearable tech that have come out. People have been turned off by it."

You can nab the original NFC Ring for £29.99 now, or make your pledge on Kickstarter for the sequel - £23 gets you the all new model.

SQUARE – Vring

#Trending: Putting a ring on it

Well, rectangular actually. Big and rectangular. Those were our first thoughts when we first laid eyes on Vring, whose makers describe it as the first wearable to focus on voice-control.

The smart accessory, which can fit a ring or bracelet form factor, syncs up to your smartphone and offers you voice controls on the fly. Commands such as "lights" or "my music" kick start the relevant app on your phone and the talking controls are extended to Google searches, Chromecast, note taking, smart appliance connectivity and a find-my-phone feature.

It's a neat idea but we're not convinced that all the voice controls are really all that useful (smart home controls – yes, asking Google when Hillary Clinton was born – no), and we're not convinced the size of the device works on a ring.


#Trending: Putting a ring on it

Like a stripped back NFC Ring (with a capital R – Kerv is an NFC ring… confused?) the Kickstarter goal for this contactless payment ring has been met with plenty of time to spare.

We met up with the man behind the ring, Phillip Campbell, recently and he told us. "Sometimes simplicity is the best thing. I want to make a really killer product."

It doesn't have a display, it won't vibrate when you get an email, and it doesn't track your steps or calories. It simply lets you tap into the NFC contactless world –for instant payments, public transport validation or smart lock entry. What's more it doesn't require charging.

Kerv is set to sell for around £50 in the UK, with £20 of credit already loaded up.


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Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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