Most wearables we’ve seen so far have married fashion and function in a near 50 / 50 split, or at least there abouts. They want you to see them as fashionable enough to wear, but also give them enough of a purpose that you’ll keep using it after launch. That’s the idea anyway, even if it doesn’t always work out. However, Ringly is a new product from a startup that is more about fashion than anything else, as all it does is give you a heads up when someone is trying to get in touch.
Ringly is a “cocktail ring,” that’s designed to give women a notification when their phone is ringing, when someone sends a Facebook message their way, or a variety of other potential social interactions. The developer and CEO of Ringly, Christina Mercando, has said that she would often have her smartphone in her purse and would miss calls, texts and other messages from friends, family or work, simply because her phone wasn’t with her.
With Ringly’s cocktail rings, the idea is that you wear the ring, with its giant, gaudy stone and you get a little LED flash when you get a call. It can also vibrate, which along with the lighting, you can adjust in the Ringly app to only light up when certain people call, or to give you different notifications when certain people get in touch.
“[W]e’re trying to make the technology almost invisible, so miniaturization is the main challenge for us – trying to get it small enough so we could put it anywhere, and we could really focus on the form of the jewelry, rather than fitting it around the technology,” said Mercando’s developmental partner, Logan Munro.
To further develop the technology into something they think people would actually wear, Ringly worked with fashion graduate Annie Van Harlingen. They ultimately settled on a large, single, semi-precious stone, which comes in four different colours. They come in Stargaze (black), Wine Bar (pink), Daydream (white) and Into the Woods (green). Oddly though, they’re all priced at $145 apart from the last one, which will cost you $180 at pre order. Retail prices will be inflated to $195 for the first three and $260 for the latter.
So far Ringly has raised a million dollars in venture capital and has now opened up pre-orders in order to generate more interest.
While there isn’t a lot of function with a device like this, there’s a huge amount of interest, with many people suggesting they want their wearables to look more like jewellery. The success of Ringly (or lack thereof) will certainly give us a good indication of the direction the wearable market may go in the next few years.