The i.am+ Puls is a smart bangle, that can call, text and work independently of a smartphone. “It’s not a watch,” Will.i.am was keen to stress, as “watches don’t have SIM cards.”
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On the tech side the band has 1GB of RAM and a whopping 16GB of memory, which blows most current wearables out of the water. Aside from Bluetooth and a SIM card, it also has a Siri-like voice recognition assistant built in, which he calls AnnedA.
There’s also a curved screen – no details on how it compares to the Samsung Gear S in terms of quality – and is Android driven. That means there’s plenty of apps at launch, and the big social names of Twitter and Facebook are already onboard.
However, the real specs are the “4 kilowatts of DAF (Dope as f---ness)," Will.i.am said.
7digital is also on board for the music features the Puls will boast. “There is a massive change going on in digital music as new streaming models replace the buy to own downloading model, explained Simon Cole, the music streaming company's CEO.
"Many of these, like the service launched last night by Will.i.am, will be designed for ease of use on mobile and wearable devices. These services require the technology platform and expertise in both radio and streamed music that 7digital has at its core.”
As you’d expect with Will.i.am the design is very much in your face – much like the man himself. Svelte it is not, and the chunky band magnetically snaps around the wrist and is certainly begging to attract attention.
There was no word on the types of sensors built in (we’re chasing down that information) but demonstrations showed the band counting pull ups in the gym – another cool feature that we hope is backed up when it comes to running and cycling, too.
If the idea of a giant bangle wasn’t weird enough for you, some of Will.i.am’s other ideas may be. Firstly, the band charges with a ‘claw’, which looks like a giant crocodile clip…not ideal. However, it will charge wirelessly when wearable a special charging coat, which contacts at the cuff. Or you can use the official charging bag, that’s also insane. And, of course, there's a pair of connected trainers to count your steps.
We’ll wait to get hands on with the Puls before passing judgement. If the apps work well, and Will.i.am can work out how to make separate data plans work from AT&T (US) and O2 (UK), he’ll have made progress.
However, Will.i.am would be the first to admit that he has a short attention span when it comes to projects, and this looks very much like Puls 1.0. Will he have the interest to carry on the work?
There's a fantastic interview with Will.i.am over at Gizmodo wit some pictures of the bag and claw – and the device's tiny on-screen keyboard that are well worth checking out.
The Puls is said to be landing in time for Christmas, there's no word on pricing yet.