Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 16, 2014

Will.i.am's Puls Smartwatch Offers Strong Features

In a market fairly well jammed with smartwatches—100 million by 2019 at last report—it's seldom a surprise to see one more enter the market. But it's also noteworthy for another reason, as it generally makes observers wonder, just what does this new item have that its predecessors did not? In the case of the Puls smartwatch, the easy answer is “a celebrity pitchman in the form of Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am”, but there's more than that going on with this latest entrant into the wearable tech stakes.

Will.i.am took to the Dreamforce stage in San Francisco to show off the Puls (pronounced “pulse”, not surprisingly) smartwatch, a device that had a reasonably sound technological base with some unique features all its own. Developed by a team of 35 engineers over the course of two and a half years, the resulting device brings in a gigabyte of RAM and 16 gigabytes of storage, as well as several connectivity options including 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It also boasts a GPS system, a pedometer, an accelerometer, and a strap that contains both batter and an external speaker. It comes in a user's choice of four colors—black, blue, pink and white—as well as a set of “Lux” versions that boast gold or gold with diamonds.

But beyond the flash and the decent platform, there are some more proprietary measures here as well. For instance, the watch is reportedly controlled by a voice-control mechanism known as Aneeda, which is said to be similar in nature to Siri. But there's also an Instagram feature, a Facebook tool, a version of Twitter, as well as a version of Salesforce. There are other, more standard features said to be in place as well, from photo tools to email and contacts mechanisms to music and fitness applications.

There's even an emotion detector known as Vibe in place that allows users to determine just what said users are feeling at the time, which is said to be unusual, and users will be able to exchange contact information just by pressing wrists together. Those interested will be able to get in on the device with AT&T in the U.S., and with O2 in the U.K. Pricing and release dates, however, are as yet unknown.

The inevitable question here, of course, is whether or not the Puls will be able to compete with the slew of devices already in play. Somehow I doubt that users have been sitting on the fence as far as smartwatches go, saying “I'm just going to wait for Will.i.am to release the smartwatch for me.” Still, though, there does seem to be plenty to like about this particular watch, and those who haven't gotten in on the smartwatch action may well choose to begin with this surprisingly robust offering. It certainly looks sharp, as it's being called more of a “cuff” than a watch, and there's certainly no wanting for features here, so as wearable tech goes, it appears to have the right blend of fashion and functionality to make it a worthwhile item in the field.

The Puls may not make a lot of smartwatch users throw over old brands for new, but it's a pretty safe bet that it will get at least some interest thanks to some new tools, a decent base, and the always useful touch of a celebrity pitchman.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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