Will.i.am launches Puls -- the smartwatch that's not a watch
It's not a watch. It's not a watch. It's not a watch. Despite appearances to contrary (it tells the time and is worn on the wrist for starters...), Black Eyed Peas' singer and tech fiend will.i.am is keen to assure us that his new wristband is most definitely not a watch. Unveiling the wearable, the smart cuff, the wristband -- call it what you will, as long as it's not a watch -- at Dreamforce in San Francisco, he showed off the fact that the Puls (pronounced Pulse, not Pulls) can be used to make calls without the need to be paired with a mobile phone.
It's a device that has been teased for quite some time now. Will.i.am has been seen on many occasions with the band on his wrist, but had resisted giving away too many details. Now we know it is a curved screen device complete with its own SIM card, 16GB of memory and 1GB of RAM, and a Siri/Cortana-bating voice recognition system called Aneeda (I need a...).
We could be seeing the start of a new breed of wearable. While Samsung produces smartwatches that can only be used in conjunction with Samsung phones, and Apple produces the Apple Watch that can only be used in conjunction with an iPhone, Puls has no such reliance. It is a standalone device that can be used to make and receive calls and text messages without the need for a separate handset. There's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth available, and SIM-mirroring means that if you do want to hang onto your phone, you can use the same number on both devices.
As you'd expect from a wearable, Puls is packed with sensors. There is, of course, a touch screen, but accelerometers and GPS are on hand to help with the health and fitness side of things, but there's also an emotion sensor that can allegedly detect the mood of the wearer. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the Puls runs a forked version of Android and will be capable of playing music and used to run other apps. And that's about all we know. Oh... apart from learning that battery life is a bit, er, rubbish. We're promised five hours of continuous use, so you'll want to make sure you have a charger with you at all times.
At the moment we only know about US and UK launches. In the US the wristband will be carried exclusively by AT&T, while in the UK it will be carried by O2. No pricing or launch date details have yet been announced.
Photo credit: Tech Crunch