Kyle George, the CEO of Henlen, loved the idea of a smartwatch but encountered a problem most of us have. He would wear a watch for different occasions, with widely different styles to match the event. The problem with smartwatches is they cost $149, or more and are all styled similarly. If you do buy multiple watches for different styles, it’s hard to sync all of them and figure out which one is connected. All in all, if you buy one smartwatch your stuck with it. While you can switch out the bands, the face of the watch stays the same.
This problem Mr. George faced resulted in the Henlen watch, which is a small ‘cell‘ that users can swap between different watch bodies. The idea of a ‘cell’ reminds me of how Fitbit works: The Fitbit has different bands, with some being from fashion icons, and the actual Fitbit is no more than a small device that slips into the bands. The idea’s brilliant, and I’m looking forward to seeing what styles the community suggests. I wear a smartwatch regularly, and if I had three styles; fashion, casual, and rugged, I would love my watch even more.
The campaign looks like they haven’t built an app that’s ready to shine yet, but they promise support for iOS 9+ and Android 4.0+. The watch software also appears to be a custom-built OS, instead of using Android Wear or another open source operating system. They’re building a custom OS because they want to focus on notifications over having Uber, Instacart, and a hundred other apps on your wrist. They’ll focus your notification from “messages, missed Calls & social media” so you’ll never have to look at your watch for more than 3 seconds.
Now for the smartwatches specs:
- Heart rate monitor
- 4 GB of storage
- 1.39 inch AMOLED display
- 450 mAH battery
- 512 GB of RAM
- 1.2GHz Dual-core processor
While parts of the software worry me, the hardware looks solid. The company was also backed by the Spark Centre, which mentors, fosters, and helps early stage startups launch their idea. This backing help Henlen create a business plan, produce prototypes, and will hopefully assist them to bring their project to fruition once they’re funded.
The smartwatch is on Kickstarter with $24,542 raised as of the writing of this article. The campaign has a goal of $100,000 with 26 days to go, so will likely be funded. If you want to back the campaign, $225 will get you one ‘cell’ and one body with an estimated ship of February 2017.
I believe the Henlen smartwatch could become the next Pebble, particularly since more normals begin to look at the watches. The Henlen could bring smartwatches to normals; fashion focused folks and anyone who enjoys wearing different watches.
Tell us in the comments below if you are going to back the Kickstarter and what watch bodies you’d like to see from them!