Though he began his career as the front man of the Black Eyed Peas, Will.i.am has spent the past few years making a name for himself in the tech industry. The 39-year-old L.A. native has consulted for Intel, was a founding investor in Beats by Dre (now owned by Apple), and is now entering the market with an idea all his own.
Last week, the musician revealed a slick new smart wearable called Puls, which makes phone calls, connects to WiFi, tweets, shares your “vibes” with loved ones, offers directions, plays music, and — of course — tells you what time it is. But don’t call it a watch.
“This is not a watch, by any means,” he said last Thursday at the unveiling, which was held at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. “Watches don’t have SIM cards. This is a new type of communication.”
Though its final price and release date have yet to be announced, Puls joins a growing field of high-end wristwear devices that function as fashion statements just as much as they do high-tech accessories. Its peers include a Tory Burch-designed Fitbit line, Intel’s ornate smart bracelet, Mica, and the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. Even Will.i.am, who worked with a team of about 30 engineers for two years to develop the product, says the item was first inspired by Gucci pieces and the Chanel Maltese cuff.
Yahoo Tech sat down with the musician turned entrepreneur to chat about his involvement in the project, how Puls’ voice-automated operating system, AneedA, is different from competitors like Siri, and what people are looking for in the future of consumer technology. See highlights from our chat in the video above.