“Technology is infused into the world of will.i.am as an essential element. It powers everything that he does.”
So says the website of American singer, rapper, producer, philanthropist, entrepreneur and technology botherer William Adams, better known by his stage name, Will.i.am. To back up this rather bold claim and boost his tech credentials, he has now revealed his very own smartwatch, called the Puls.
Except this is not a smartwatch, at least according to the rapper himself. “This is not a watch, by any means. Watches don’t have SIM cards. This is a new type of communication.”
The Puls is a standalone device, and unlike smartwatches from the likes of Motorola, LG, and Apple, it will be able to make phone calls without needing to be tethered to a smartphone.
Will.i.am called the Puls a “smartcuff” when announcing the device at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference on Wednesday.
The Puls has been in development by a team of 35 engineers at his i.am+ fashion/tech company for two and a half years and promises to blend technology and fashion — or “fashionology” as its creators call it. The development of the Puls has been backed by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
The Puls will require customers to buy a separate data plan, which will be sold in the UK through O2, but so far no specific pricing or launch details for the device have been announced.
The Puls features an all-in-one curved design with a curved screen and will come in a variety of sizes to fit all wrists. The battery, microphone, and speakers are all housed within the chunky band.
In terms of hardware, the Puls is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip with 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, 3G, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity, a pedometer, and accelerometer.
The Puls even has its own version of Siri or Cortana called AneedA, which will allow you to text, search online and get directions by talking to your watch — sorry, cuff.
If talking to your cuff is not to your liking, the custom software even has a full QWERTY keyboard, though unless you possess unfeasibly small fingers, it might be more hassle than it is worth.
The smartwatch/smartcuff comes with a number of apps preinstalled, giving you access to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, maps, music, and fitness tracking, but the company is promising a standalone app store where developers can publish apps.