Gaming company Razer set out last year to create a new social smartband called the Nabu, and after a year of testing that included a debut of the product at the 2014 International CES, the band finally went on sale this week in North America. Impressively, the device sold out within 72 hours of it becoming available to consumers.
For just $100, the Nabu features two screens for notifications, one at 32x32 pixels on the outside of the wrist and the other at 128x32 on the inside of the wrist. The Nabu also contains tracking technology you'd find in more expensive devices, such as an accelerometer, altimeter and a form of NFC, allowing users to link up and connect with each other via tapping bands. Dubbed "Pulse," a user could shake hands with another user and their contact information could be swapped with the feature enabled.
There's a couple of really cool additions that make this smartband stand out. For one, developers are currently working on a notification system that would let users know when they're friends are playing their favorite games. And with the dev kit only running $50, there is a load of potential that opens up for unique connectivity between devices. There is currently another app being created that will allow certain PC games to actually react to the movement of the Nabu, in conjunction with the Kinect 2.0.
What I like even more is the fact that there is support from the developers on Windows Phone compatibility. While Razer claims that the Nabu Utility app is currently available from the Windows Store, the link in the FAQ does not lead us to a valid page. However, the forums contain a link to sideload the app and the dev kit comes with an FTP to a ton of resources. Some features currently do not work on Windows Phone, but there are break-out groups of regular users, working to make the functions come to life for those with a WinPho.
It is interesting to see a gaming company get involved in a band that contains both fitness and social features with so much competition currently out there. Luckily, the band has not been said to cause third degree burns, so they already have a step up on the pack. If people get behind the device and can create some unique experiences, the product could end up being really successful, especially at the $100 pricepoint.