Tech savvy folks like myself often carry a variety of devices on a day-to-day basis. But why the need for both a smartphone and smartwatch when these devices could be one and the same? At least, that’s the mantra behind the upcoming Shell smartwatch. So if you’ve ever wished your watch could simply be your phone, then this may be the wrist-mounted device of your dreams.
The idea of a hybrid smartwatch isn’t anything new, but Shell takes this idea to a new extreme with a fresh design and even more interesting features. In its watch configuration, Shell docks into a wrist-mounted cradle and works just like a typical Android smart watch would. But one look at the hybrid device and there’s no hiding that it’s bulky, even compared to other smartwatches. Despite its size, Shell does put all of its form factor to good use.
Transforming into smartphone mode, this device brings with it just about all the functionality you’d expect, with GPS, a stand-alone 4G LTE antenna and even a 12MP camera headlining its features. As a smartphone, two wings emerge from the casing to offer a more traditional smartphone look, if you can call it that.
Right now there’s no word on battery life, which could be a major deciding factor for many looking to adorn their wrists with the device. Shell is said to be fully waterproof, which is one big perk.
Aside from its clever expandable design, Shell packs one other unique and noteworthy feature. Thanks to an integrated mini-generator module, Shell’s power can be extended by manually flexing the watch’s wings up and down. This is said to offer an additional several minutes of use.
If your wrist is aching for this hybrid smartwatch, Shell will be available for preorder starting at the end of the month on Indiegogo. The baseline Signature model starts at $250, with a military grade Commando edition running you $400. Those who already have a smartwatch can opt for the Universal model that brings many of Shell’s features to your existing device for $150.
Shell is an intriguing and unique concept, but as an everyday device I do have a few hold ups. Most prominently, Shell is huge compared to other mainstream smartwatches. As stated above, some may find its feature set to outweigh the extra bulk, but I’d be willing to bet most wouldn’t trade their low-profile Apple Watch for Shell.
Aside from its looks, I’m most curious as to how secure Shell is with its wrist-mounted dock. Will it be able to easily survive the occasional bump? Or will any impact send the watch flying. Hopefully this isn’t something to worry about, but it very well could be with an unconventional design. All-in-all, only time will tell whether Shell’s unique features will garner enough attention to keep it alive in the existing smartwatch market.
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