This Kickstarter campaign wants to fix the smartwatch’s number one problem
Smartwatches – once trumpeted as the next big tech thing – are struggling to get a solid foothold in the market. If even the consumer marketing might of Apple can’t magically make a smartwatch appear on every wrist, then what hope anyone?
Well, Kickstarter was where the smartwatch was born (the less said of what happened to the company afterwards the better), and it’s here where its revival may begin. Although read that “may” as even more italicised than it is for reasons expanded on in the fifth paragraph.
But let’s go with the positives to begin with. The Swiss Sequent smartwatch is currently raising funds on Kickstarter, and it’s already smashed its target, raising CHF 270,219 (~£217,000) of its more modest CHF 80,000 (~£64,000) goal. The reason for this enthusiasm is that the Sequent promises all the mod cons of the smartwatch – heart rate sensor, GPS tracking and notifications – without having to worry about battery life. The battery is supposedly self-charging based on your movements throughout the day.
Much of this is possible because the Sequent is a hybrid smartwatch. Like the Misfit Phase, Timex IQ+ Move and Casio Ediface EQB-600, Sequent doesn’t have a screen, working purely with analogue dials and hands. As we’ve found in the past, that’s a little limiting in terms of notifications (it will tell you that you have a message via a notification circle, but won’t tell you what it says), but the upside is that it certainly looks nice. Adding smartish elements that are heard but not seen makes for a timepiece that won’t stand out for all the wrong reasons, and each one of the aforementioned hybrid smartwatches has a battery that can be measured in months and years rather than hours and minutes. Even so, none of them track heart rate or GPS, so that’s a big step forward.
“If you move normally the watch generate enough daily power to indicate the time and track your activity,” explains the FAQ. “The extreme mode with heart rate, notifications, GPS will consume more energy. As we have all our little preferences of what matter to us our app will be able to help you on the setup and consumption of the watch.”
The million dollar (~CHF 960,000) question is how long can the Sequent watch go without movement before it dies? And what happens after that to recharge it? You would have thought that if this were a plausible approach, there would be no shortage of companies trying to get it off the ground, after all.
Nonetheless, if you trust the company’s credentials, the Sequent smartwatch can be backed on Kickstarter for CHF 189 (~£151) – which is substantially less than the future retail price of CHF 438 (~£359). Watches are estimated to be shipped by the end of the year, but as with any crowdfunding campaign, you should make sure you only pledge what you can afford to lose. Because not every campaign ends with good news for its backers.