Klatz targets smartwatch market with band that doubles as phone

klatz-smartwatchThe “smartwatch” is obviously the hot item of recent years (or two), as Pebble, Samsung, Motorola, Apple (coming soon), and others keep rolling out devices in an attempt to occupy the real-estate on your wrist. Ukrainian-founded Klatz, a startup building a smartwatch which doubles as a phone, has launched an Indiegogo campaign that it hopes will provide the funding necessary to push their device to market.

The Klatz watch, which the team claims is already 90% engineered, is a simple band which uses an LED display to display notifications such as SMS messages, the time (obviously), and alerts for incoming calls and emails. It is also being designed to double as a phone which users can flip open to accept calls on when they receive an alert. Perhaps the most interesting feature, though, is the battery that they are promoting. According to the company, the battery can last up to 7-10 days per charge on normal mode or up to a month in energy-saving mode, which would put it past major competitors.

As with any project on a site like Indiegogo or Kickstarter, one of the main questions posed by prospective backers is typically “does the product even really exist?”. Klatz reports that the images published on their campaign page are of the actual prototype, not photoshops, and that they have already found a factory to begin manufacturing the devices. Speaking of manufacturing, the device is slated to go into production within the next couple of months and begin to go out to backers in April 2015.

Dmitry Goncharenko from Klatz says that they are planning to retail the watch for $149 (or $129, if they can make it happen), which would make it a cheaper alternative to the Samsung Gear 2 ($189 from BestBuy), Moto 360 ($250 from Motorola), Pebble Steel ($200) from Best Buy, and others.

The team behind Klatz has set the fundraising bar high, aiming to haul in at least $140K by the end of their campaign. They have opted for the all-or-nothing route, which may prove risky with the high goal that they have set. However, Goncharenko tells me that they have already picked up a small, undisclosed amount of seed funding and have receive offers from investors, so it should not prove disastrous in the event that they fall short of their aims. Per the campaign, the team has opted for crowdfunding in order to refine the firmware, improve the design of the app, fund production tooling, and obtain FCC, CE, and Bluetooth certifications. Goncharenko tells me that they already have funding enabling them to begin manufacturing. The campaign has just started, so the company has picked up $1,793 with 34 days until the deadline.

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