Smarty Ring : Better Than A Smartwatch?  

Would you wear a ring that can answer calls and tell the time? One Indiegogo campaign hopes so.

Not sold on smartwatches? How about a smart ring?

The Smarty Ring promises to do almost everything a smartwatch can do, but in a much smaller package. The Indiegogo concept, which has already met its funding goal, will pair with smartphones via Bluetooth and includes a wide range of notifications and controls.

Made from surgical stainless steel, the ring is 13 mm wide and 4 mm thick. The device is waterproof and charges via magnetic induction. The 22 mAh battery provides about 24 hours of battery life, meaning it will need to be charged every day. Considering its size, that’s nothing to complain about. The Smarty Ring includes a monochrome LED screen that is bright enough for outdoor use. It displays the time and can also be used as a stopwatch or timer.

Beyond the basics, the Smarty Watch can be used for notifications, including incoming and outgoing calls, alerts for text and email messages, and real-time updates from Facebook, Twitter, Hangouts, and Skype.

The Smarty Ring can also be used to control a number of smartphone functions, using built-in buttons that let it interact with the notifications and perform set actions. For example, it can accept or reject incoming calls, make outgoing calls to preset numbers, trigger the camera, control music playback, and change the user’s profile.

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According to the developers, the Smarty Ring can be used to track your smartphone, alerting you when your phone is more than 30 meters away. This can prevent Smarty Ring wearers from forgetting their devices and could possibly even prevent thefts. A wearer can also use the ring to find his or her phone by sending an alert, even if the phone is set to silent mode.

The Smarty Ring is compatible with Android smartphones and the iPhone, as long as the phone has Bluetooth 4.0 on board. There’s a dedicated application that will let smartphone owners set up and control the functions of the Smarty Ring. For example, the app will let users set time zones and adjust the clock, adjust the LED brightness, adjust the beeper volume, and assign buttons to control speed-dial numbers.

All these features are found on most of today’s smartwatches, such as the Galaxy Gear from Samsung, the Pebble, and the Smart Watch 2 from Sony. Putting them in a smaller package might appeal to some users.

The developers have reached their initial funding goal but are still accepting investors. The basic Smarty Ring costs $100, but the $175 option offers the best value, as it includes more features. The developers of the Smarty Ring are targeting a delivery date of April 2014.

It’s an ambitious project, and whether or not it will appeal to tech-savvy users is a big question. The Smarty Ring pushes the envelope in terms of exactly what defines a wearable device and what we expect it to do. What do you think? Would you wear a smart ring instead of a smartwatch?

Consumerization 1.0 was “We don’t need IT.” Today we need IT to bridge the gap between consumer and business tech. Also in the Consumerization 2.0issue of InformationWeek: Stop worrying about the role of the CIO. (Free registration required.)

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