Wove Band: ‘Futuristic’ Apple Watch Alternative With Fully Flexible Screen

The Wove Band, designed by Chicago-based Polyera, attempts to solve two main problems with wearables like the Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear. Both are strong markers in the move towards wearable technology, but suffer from limited battery life if used heavily, and relatively small screen space afforded by the wrist.

Chicago Inno, reporting on September’s launch of the new Wove Band, announced that the first of those challenges will be solved through the use of e-ink technology, which will allow the Wove Band to “remain on for long periods of time without draining the battery.” One of the main criticisms of other first-generation wearables has been the fact that they don’t perform as good replacements for watches due to the incessant charging. The lack of a power-draining screen avoids this issue for the Wove Band.

The most impressive feature of the Wove Band is the ability of the screen to bend effortlessly around the wrist without damage. This allows a large amount of information to inhabit the Wove Band, and Android Authority were able to experiment with the Wove Band to see how that might work. The Wove Band was able to run maps and navigation apps, recipe apps, and media playback.

Currently, the Wove band is in the early stages of testing, and it is reported that the Wove Band isn’t expected to be in the hands of developers until December. With the Wove OS being a derivative of Android, it’s hopeful that a number of useful apps from the existing diverse Android ecosystem can be ported to the Wove Band, making it highly functional on launch. The expected Wove Band release date is 2016.

Tech Times noted that the manufacturers prefer to see the Wove Band as a “digital canvas” rather than a smartwatch, which is why we’re seeing it as an alternative-to rather than competitor-to the current smartwatch offerings, such as the Apple Watch. In the “hands on” demonstration, they noted the specs of the device.

“The Wove Band’s 30mm x 156mm display has a resolution of 1040 x 200 pixels, and is able to wrap itself around a bracelet that is segmented. The bigger end segments house the Freescale i.MX7 dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM, and the 230 mAh battery. Even the charging port is located in the large segment, as is the clasp mechanism, which helps lock the wearable.”

Geek highlighted another interesting differentiator for the Wove Band. The Wove Band, unlike power-hungry alternatives with traditional displays, is able to feature an always-on screen. This allows the Wove Band to double as a fashion accessory, and the company is reportedly hoping to attract designers, as well as those hoping to make a unique and personal statement through the Wove Band.

Wove Band Flat Configuration
Wove Band In Flat Configuration [Image Source: Wove.com]
Because the screen is fully flexible, it can, naturally, be laid out and used as a flat device, taking advantage of the whole Wove Band screen. Obvious advantages in that format when compared to existing use of smartphones may be less clear. However, the “always on” Wove Band screen might allow for usage in calendar reminders and weather reports.

Polyera told TechCrunch that while pricing for the Wove Band had yet to be finalized, it would come in at under the cheapest Apple Watch offering, which should give the Wove Band the opportunity to have an impact with both price-conscious consumers as well as those looking for the significantly different experience the Wove Band offers.

In testing form, the Wove Band still does look slightly chunky due to the battery and component ends of the Band, but the new form, combined with significant battery life, mean it’s coming to market with a compelling alternative vision from the traditional smartwatch genre.

[Image Source: Wove.com]

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