All Sections

Everything we know about the world’s first build-your-own-smartwatch, Blocks

Everything you need to know about the awesome Blocks modular watch, which allows you to build your own wearable and add whatever features you like.

What is the Blocks smartwatch?

Blocks is a ‘modular’ smartwatch created by British company Blocks Wearables, which allows users to pick and choose what features they want in their device and change it on the go. To add or remove features/sensors from your device, you simply snap on a new module, which comes in the form of a dinky bracelet link.

So, if you like to occasionally go for a jog and would like to monitor your heart rate, just snap on the sensor before you head out. When you get back, replace the the monitor with a secondary battery and you’ll get another day of power without having to charge it. You can chain a number of these modules to create your very own personalised watch, which fits your needs at a specific time.

What is the Blocks watch’s specs?

We found out just a couple of days ago that Blocks will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 processor. Fantastic news, as the Snapdragon does a great job running most Android Wear watches, with plenty of future-proofing. The Blocks crew also revealed some other partnerships, and that the first watch will come packing a round screen like the LG G Watch R. However, you will be able to swap out for a differently shaped watch face if square is more your thing.

Check out our run-down of the Blocks’ specs.

What OS does Blocks run and which phones will it be compatible with?

The Blocks watch actually runs full Android Lollipop – not Android Wear. The reason for this is Android Wear’s lack of support right now for NFC and LTE, which the Blocks team is very keen to implement. With 4G support, the Blocks watch will operate completely independently of your smartphone – handy if you’ve run out of juice or left it in another room. And with NFC, the wearable can be used for wireless payments.

At launch, Blocks will apparently be compatible with iOS and Android devices. However, the team also said that it was looking at support for other devices such as Windows Phone.

What modules will be available for Blocks at launch?

In the core Blocks module you’ll find Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a motion sensor, a microphone and the main battery, which should provide a day or two of life depending on how much you play with your new toy. Beyond that, you can add your own modules to the watch, which snap in place via a rugged pin system like links in a standard watch.

Blocks will launch with a basic range of add-on modules, including a heart rate sensor, pedometer and other health features found on most wearables. However, the Blocks team has also promised us that the watch will have a battery module available from day one, which comes as a massive relief as battery life is such a massive factor with wearables. Or rather, the lack of battery life.

On the left, the original prototype design for Blocks modules. On the right, the new super-slim and more-rugged design.

You can string together a number of battery modules if you really care about longevity, with each one giving you an extra day of estimated use – meaning you could have yourself a smartwatch that just about lasts the week. Compared with most watches like the Apple Watch and every Android Wear device out there, that’s a massive plus. Of course, it still doesn’t quite top the Pebble Time Steel, which is estimated to last for ten whole days between charges – but for now these are all estimated figures, and we’re keen to see how they fare in real life.

What other modules can we expect to launch for Blocks?

Beyond the launch date we’re expecting to see all kinds of awesome add-ons, and the only real limit is the imagination of the developers. The Blocks team has already promised us a camera module, which will be compatible with the launch edition of the watch. We’re also expecting to see the likes of gesture recognition, fingerprint scanners for authorising payments and perhaps even extra processors further down the line.

When is Blocks coming to the UK?

A specific release date for Blocks hasn’t been reached yet as the company is still in talks with partners, but we’ve been told to expect to see the wearable hit crowdfunding sites this summer, with a view to it going into UK stores in early 2016.

Until then, check out www.chooseblocks.com

Comments