Considering their pedigree of marrying style with function, it’s small wonder that gaming PC peripheral makers like Razer have decided to get into the wearable game. With that in mind, today we’re looking at Razer’s first product in that genre, the Nabu wristband that provides handy notifications to let you know what’s going on with your online social circles.
The Razer Nabu’s main function is to let you know when someone is trying to get in touch with you. That can be through a traditional phone call, text message, social network message, Skype call, Wechat notification or any number of other little messages from your phone itself, such as reminders or Google map notifications. It does all of this in a swish, little black number, with a coloured interior band giving it some flair.
It’s made up of a 128×32 pixel OLED display screen and is splashproof, so you can wear it while washing your hands without. The idea is that you can discreetly check your wrist when a message comes in and decide to reply or not, without needing to appear rude by checking your phone.
Going beyond notifications though, the Nabu can also provide personal analysis. Thanks to its built in accelerometer and altimeter and vibration monitor, it’s able to track steps taken, calories burned, floors climbed, distance travelled, how long you’ve slept and more. In the accompanying application you can set personal goals for movement and try and set them each day. Over time you’ll also be able to analyse your daily results for more long term achievements.
The bit that is likely to get tech-heads excited though, is the Nabu’s “social discovery” function. This allows you to create custom gestures that perform different functions. For example, Razer suggests you could high five with someone also wearing a Nabu to exchange contact information.
The Nabu isn’t currently on sale, though there is an ongoing developer beta program, which you can apply for here. If accepted, you’ll be expected to pay $50 for a single Nabu.
The Nabu’s function does feel a little limited. The custom gestures might be fun, but that’s not something the average consumer is going to spend much time doing. Also, if it’s limited to interacting with other Nabu owners, then it’s unlikely that it will become a dominant enough product that you’ll really run in to many people with one.
The Nabu seems like a nice proof of concept, but I think Razer will need to release something a little different if it wants to capture the wearable market’s attention.