Korean smartwatch dreamer Kairos have started a new crowdfunding round for its T-Band, a tech-filled watch strap that will turn any timepiece into a smartwatch.
If you’ve heard of Kairos before, it’s because they’re the outfit behind the Kairos MSW and SSW mechanical smartwatches, which use a transparent OLED display on top of a high-end automatic movement. The company is now taking pre-orders on those.
Essential reading: Best smartwatches in the world
Back to the T-Band, the strap can be attached to any existing watch and boasts all the features you’d expect from a smartwatch – all in the strap.
The basic T-Band ND ($159) just has notification smarts and connects to an app for activity tracking, but doesn’t feature a display. The company says the battery will last seven days.
The second model is the T-Band HD ($179), which stands for ‘hidden display’. The screen spends most of the time off, and blends into the rubber strap when powered down. Battery life is said be two to three days.
The final model is the T-Band OD ($199) which uses a 170ppi P-OLED screen, like the LG G Watch R, and has a more powerful ARM Cortex-M4 processor inside. The panel is only 25mm x 11mm, which is extremely small for a display and raises immediate questions about its usability.
On paper, the T-Band is the perfect foil for those who want smart features on their wrist, but either own an expensive mechanical watch already, or simply don’t want one of the current smartwatch crop.
However, there seem to be some problems that haven’t been addressed.
Firstly, any band that integrates electronics or screens into the strap tend to be as comfortable as a set of medieval irons. While the strap may be made of rubber, the screen area will make it taught and immovable, which won't sit on the wrist comfortably. Clarification is needed on how Kairos expects to overcome this problem – if indeed it has even attempted it.
Secondly, who wants to customise their Hublot mechanical watch with a rubber strap? The renders on the Indiegogo look nice, but we’re certainly reserving judgment until we see some candid snaps.
The Kairos T-Band Indiegogo campaign runs until 31 December. The company is only looking for $50,000, and seems to be more of a pre-ordering mechanism than anything else. Delivery date – assuming Kairos can get their product up to scratch – is estimated to be April 2015.
How we test