Glance aims to make any watch a smartwatch, pushes the boundaries of believability

Glance aims to make any watch a smartwatch, pushes the boundaries of believability
By Derek Kessler on 3 Jun 2014 02:34 pm
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A new Kickstarter project called Glance is designed to add smartwatch functionality to any old wristwatch. It's a problem that many of those who have a thing for watches — I personally adore my analog Skagen watch, even though the only thing it does is tell the time — they want to keep that classic sort of styling and quality that a smartwatch just has yet to offer, but they want the functionality of that smartwatch. That's where Glance is meant to come in, slipping under the band of your watch and adding an OLED screen for notifications and motion controls. But it might just be too good to be true.

The Glance add-on is small. Like, really small. the miniature design is built on a machined aluminum frame with rubber inlay for grabbing onto your watch band. The components like the battery, processor, sensors, and radios are improbably tiny. Tracking motion as something like the so-called "air mouse" and being able to sense the movement of a digit to which the device is not attached has yet to be demonstrated in a real life setting.

Hell, the Kickstarter doesn't even feature a working version of the device — the shots with the device actually "in action" feature computer-overlaid text. On a curved surface, when the prototype display and wireline renderings both show flat displays. That prototype right now is a small board, with a tiny battery (they claim a week's battery life), wires, and only a 3D-printed shell.

Glance prototype board

Glance seems like an interesting idea. Certainly $80 seems like it might be a good deal for a unique and miniature device such as this, but we can't hep but feel like they're overreaching. Does Glance seem like it might be too good to be true to you?

Source: Kickstarter

Reader comments

Glance aims to make any watch a smartwatch, pushes the boundaries of believability

8 Comments

Hi, I'm a friend of one of the people involved with the project.
They've actually had this in development under a couple other names for a couple years now with working prototypes showcased at CES and TechCrunch Disrupt conference.
I've tried on the prototype and it's actually surprisingly comfortable and hardly feels like it's there at all.

To address concerns about the feasibility of the product, the tech has been demonstrated in products like the Myo and many accelerometer based apps on smartphones. Miniaturization of all these components is definitely possible, but at the prototype stage it's hard for any startup to justify sinking the cost of things like flexible substrates and tooling when there isn't a lot of up-front funding. That's why they're on Kickstarter now.

I own eight expensive watches, each of which carefully picked out based on their individual styling which are appropriate for different occasions. I don't find this metal protrusion to be flattering in the slightest, and therefore I would never consider purchasing this product, at least in it's current state. If I wanted a smart watch, I would add one to my collection and wear it when the time is suited.

I know of others who buy watches from the discount bin at WalMart, but obviously they don't care about styling, so if they wanted a smart watch, they would probably just buy an ugly pebble or something similar.

Those who don't wear watches wouldn't buy this since it's specifically meant for people who already wear watches.

So... my question is who is this product for?

I agree with everything but your second paragraph. Some people are not watch snobs, they just need something they can glance to, read the time and move on. Function over form.

This product, while a seemingly nice concept, is going to be a niche market inside a niche market inside a niche market. Similar to a calculator watch.
(people that wear a watch, who want a smart watch, but don't want to give up their current non-smart watch so will settle for this instead.)

That's what I'm trying to get at. The target audience is minuscule.

My second paragraph denotes the cost benefit of this product is not apparent, as budget smart watches exists, such as the pebble, therefore the cheap watch fan would be less interested in tagging on a mid-priced smart accessory to a cheap watch when a slightly more expensive smart watch is available.

I think you'll be surprised by its appeal. I'm already in, as appear to be quite a few others (in just a handful of days). As much of a techno Geek as I am, I have not yet seen a smart watch that looked even remotely desirable. The Pebble looks quirky, but I'm not sure I want one on my wrist.
You underestimate the number of people who either wear watches and/or have more than one for different occasions. You also have the major advantage of being able to remove the "smart" element when only the watch is required. Plus your smartwatch doesn't seem quite so smart when the battery dies. Back to reading the time on your phone I guess?

First of all, they are copying the pebble app called Glance. That app is awesome. Now for this watch thing...WHY THE HELL WOULD I SPEND $80 to put a lump under my watch. You are nuts.

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