Remember when the original Samsung Galaxy Gear came out, narrowly beating Apple to the wearable market and including an awkward camera module on the wrist strap? Samsung dropped the camera after just one generation, but apparently someone thought it was cool enough to try and bring that functionality to the Apple Watch. Meet the Wristcam.
It’s a big chunky replacement for the Apple Watch band, which includes an 8MP mobile camera module and a 2MP selfie cam: one for taking conventional photos and videos, one for selfies and video conferencing. Users can control the Wristcam via its Apple Watch app, using the independent gadget’s Bluetooth Low Energy connection and isolated battery. Alternately, there’s a multifunction button on the strap itself. The strap comes in two sizes for the small and large Apple Watch, with a variety of colors for the silicone cover.
Exactly how this is better than simply using your phone isn’t clear to me, except in those times when you only have your LTE-enabled watch handy. The strap transfers its photos slooowly over Bluetooth, but you can connect to your iPhone via Wi-Fi for snappier transfers of photos and 1080p videos. The samples provided by the company don’t inspire a lot of confidence, nor does the gadget’s one-day battery life. 8GB of onboard storage will need to be offloaded to your phone fairly frequently.
Wristcam says it has 10,000 preorders on its website, and it has a waiting list for more. That’s impressive, given the $299 price tag and a projected release of March 2021 for the first units. The makers say that they’ll add the ability to share photos directly from the Apple Watch as a software update some time after launch.