10
Dec
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We've seen at least one device that could be called a "smart ring" already: the wildly successful NFC Ring. But the Smarty Ring, currently accepting funding on Indiegogo, takes the idea about five steps further. It's a smartwatch, more or less, that's made into a ring form factor. Though it's not quite as capable as something like the Pebble, and nowhere near as powerful as the watches from Sony or Samsung, the idea is surprisingly attractive.

Basically, the Smarty Ring is a bit of curved circuit board, an LED screen (or two), a tiny battery, a diminutive speaker, and a Bluetooth 4.0 radio sitting inside a deceptively nondescript stainless steel ring. The full version of the device includes an always-on clock face, a series of permanent notification icons, and music controls molded into the circular housing. As far as capability goes, the ring functions as a clock (with multiple time zones, a stopwatch, and a timer), accepts or reject calls (though not on the ring itself), trigger your phone's camera, control music playback, play an alarm when your phone leaves Bluetooth radius, and of course, get notifications from all the standard communications and social apps.

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I've got to say it's an intriguing little design. The ring itself is completely delayed and waterproof, and it charges wirelessly on a custom-build pad. The creators are already committed to both iOS and Android apps which will manage the Smarty Ring's functions in pretty much the same way that current smartwatch apps do. It will be made to order in full ring sizes from 5 (15.7mm diameter) all the way up to 15 (23.83mm diameter), which should cover just about any potential customer. Best of all, the ring actually looks good - it's not exactly high fashion, but it's not going for the Dick Tracy meets Star Trek look either.

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The Smarty Ring has already reached its $40,000 Indiegogo funding goal, and at the time of writing it's sitting at just over $120,000. A basic "Tracker" model without any alert or control functions will cost a $50 pledge, a Clock version with the added time and alarm functions costs $70, the Remote version with the Clock and music controls costs $100, and the full-function model will cost you $175. Estimated delivery is April of next year.

But hold your horses. The creators haven't actually shown any working models. True, they've got a PCB design and a pretty good idea of how everything is supposed to work, but all the photos on the Indiegogo page and everything in the video is rendered or mocked-up. That doesn't inspire confidence in the product, let alone the timetable - even smartwatches with near-finished hardware designs take a lot longer than four months to go into full production. The campaign also uses Indiegogo's flexible funding option, which pays the creators whether or not they reach their goal. Lastly, there's no information about the people or company behind the project anywhere - not on Indiegogo and not on the company web page, which incidentally has a domain registered with a third party proxy.

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None of these observations prove that the Smarty Ring isn't real, but they don't bode well, either. The project is funded, so it will go forward whether you get a in a pledge in the next 29 hours or not. I've backed plenty of crowdfunded projects before, but I'm inclined to let the current 644 backers take the risk on this one. I hope it comes to fruition.

Source: Indiegogo via Ars Technica

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Макаров Илья

    Awesome! Wanna get this as fast as possible!!

  • http://shanked.me/ Shank

    Important to note a very likely reason why they're on Indiegogo instead of Kickstarter:

    From "Kickstarter is not a Store":

    "Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists."

    "Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development."

    That, and the fact that they get the money regardless is easily enough to tip the scale into the "fishy" realm. Good catch Android Police.

    • Steph Chi

      You've got the point ! Little thing but huge difference ... NO rendering.

  • Anon

    It was at less than halfway to the funding goal as of yesterday. Very fishy...

  • USSENTERNCC1701E

    Their perks would seem to indicate they'll have, uh, 9000 full version rings available, 408 of which are claimed... That's a hell of a commitment for a first run.

  • cj

    Shows potential, but it could do without the clock (seems weird).
    Maybe have dedicated music control instead of the clock panel or maybe the static notifications can reside there (battery / alarm / contacts ) while the dynamic notification appear on the other side.

  • andy_o

    Seems like a very similar project to this one that I've seen before, also funded.

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ring-clock-a-ring-that-gives-you-time-on-your-hands

    I'm also very skeptical about that one though.

    Regarding Indiegogo, it's where pseudoscientific crap like this http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/home-quantum-energy-generator (free energy device) apparently can thrive.

    • letsplaay

      Wow... Seriously??

      • andy_o

        Put "quantum" in the title... BAM! Magic.

        • letsplaay

          That is one thing, but what really boggles my mind is that there are people out there actually throwing their money at that apparent bull shit.

          • andy_o

            Do not read the comments then, if you still have some faith in humanity left.

          • letsplaay

            Wow well thanks for making me aware of the comments section. You were not exaggerating when you mentioned the loss of faith in humanity.

    • Da_James

      Well, at least this one seems legit : they don't sell anything but bags and t-shirts. Money will go towards research.

      • andy_o

        "Buy these $100 keychains and $1000 shirts and we will break thermodynamics, promise!"

  • Stanley Chan

    Thatsone of the purposes for flexible screens.

    Interesting, very.

  • kpjimmy

    I have backed the NFC ring and I also jumped on this and hope this idea comes to fruition. Yes 4 months is extremely aggressive, but I am backing the idea, not buying a product. So I can gamble this away and scratch it off as a loss if need be.

    I backed because I love the idea of using a ring instead of my Pebble when wearing my other watches. Hope this isn't TOO fishy!

    • Ben Baranovsky

      Oh hey there, developer of Smarty Ring. That's right, I'm onto you.

      There are parts of this that are word for word from another comment. I think this confirms that this will never be.

      • CERN

        I really thank this information. I have backed the NFC ring and I also jumped on this and hope this idea comes to fruition. Yes 4 months is extremely aggressive, but I am backing the idea, not buying a product. I support and truly expect this.

        • Ben Baranovsky

          Can someone from AP staff please get these fake people out of here? :)

          • Vladimir

            Actually they should leave them for the others to see.

          • kpjimmy

            Me?!

          • AmIDoingItRight?

            I really thank this information. I have backed the NFC ring and I also jumped on this and hope this idea comes to fruition. Yes 4 months is extremely aggressive, but I am backing the idea, not buying a product. I support and truly expect this.

      • kpjimmy

        Uh not fake take a look at my profile. I'm also on xda.

  • Aakriti Ghai

    i was just amazed to see such a cute tiny ring. this is the cutest smartphone accessory smarty ring.

    • http://www.innews.dk/ Erroneus

      I guess we found one of the owners.

      • Aakriti Ghai

        u are such an erroneous, correct ur spelling

        • Paul Taylor

          Thank you so much Smarty Ring team. I was waiting this ring. It’s really great user friendly and smooth!

          • Cory_S

            This is awesome.

        • Justin Howell

          The irony. It's beautiful.

  • http://www.frivjuego.co/ Friv juego

    I really thank this information. I have backed the NFC ring and I also jumped on this and hope this idea comes to fruition. Yes 4 months is extremely aggressive, but I am backing the idea, not buying a product. I support and truly expect this.

    • Ben Baranovsky

      Oh hey there, developer of Smarty Ring. That's right, I'm onto you.

      Edit: Wow. There are parts of this that are word for word from another comment. I think this confirms that this will never be.

      • jibust

        Also consider the fact that the video has gramatical horrors (like the post above yours) and you may see a connection.

    • johnmclear

      Hey Friv! Thanks for the NFC Ring mention, good to spot you here :) Just FYI this product is vaporware, as you I'm kinda familiar with most of the issues they will face and they have no way of getting this thing out!

      Edit: Wow the developer of Smarty Ring actually took the name of some of the NFC Ring backers and used them to comment here? +10 to Marketing BS!

  • Franz

    $175 for the full version? And this is the backed price? (Retails after crowd funding is always more expensive).

    No thank you. I'll buy a moto g as a backup phone instead.

    • Shawn Cheever

      Looks like plastic no less. What a joke!

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah. The pricing bracket is disappointing.

      Haha. I saw $50 at first and I was like yeah right. Then I saw the rest of the prices. Boo.

  • http://gplus.to/briancalderon Brian A. Calderon

    What is with the iPhone on the wireless charger? iPhone does not have wireless charging.

    • sivkai

      Yh, just another giveaway sign that this product is bs. Looks like they've successly fooled a lot of people.

      • Franz

        That's indiegogo for you...

        • primalxconvoy

          indegullible?

    • Michael Ta

      it does if you put a custom case on it.

      • Shawn Cheever

        It does, but in the rendering they show an actual iPhone being charge without a case (screen the iPhone's screen). I'm calling BS on this one too.

    • pinetreehater

      Is the iPhone's metallic band that reflective? My 4s is not! Even stuff that is supposed to be real is rendered. If that is fake, I'd wager the entire shot with the book, pen, table top, etcetera, is fake (despite obvious attempts to make it look real-world).

      • jibust

        If you notice the iPhone doesn't even have the bottom ports/screws/speakers.

        Also, the volume buttons and the mute selector are on the wrong side, should be on the left side of the phone.

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/IPhone_4S_unboxing_17-10-11.jpg

        • Nick

          They probably made just enough changes on purpose to avoid being sued by Apple for using their product in their advertisement.

    • John Smith

      but if you upgrade the latest version of the OS you get wireless charging in a microwave. Maybe that photo of the wireless charger emits the same kind of technological microwaves without cooking faces. 8)

  • Vladimir

    Seeing some comment in this thread with exactly the same sentences, I call this fishy. I would skip this guys.

  • Cat Astrophy

    the custom pad part sucks...i dont want to have to buy multiple or carry them around

  • Ben Baranovsky

    Also, they are charging for features?! What scumbags.

  • Andy Deeks

    Also I know we are just picking holes but the volume buttons and silent switch are on the wrong side of the iphone...

  • clay

    after keeping up with the journey of the pebble, there is no way in hell this is real.

  • Dan

    Scam.

  • Simon Belmont

    Hahaha. All of the comments from different people that are gushing over it that sound nearly the same.

    Yeah, that doesn't seem shady or anything. Pass.

  • johnmclear

    I'm the dev of the NFC Ring and I have quite a lot of experience in dev'ing a similar product. This product is vaporware, sorry guys but if you invested you lost your money.

  • johnmclear

    Compulsary:

    I am the dev of the NFC ring and I also jumped on this and hope this idea
    comes to fruition(lulz). Yes 4 months is extremely aggressive, but I am
    backing the idea(not rly), not buying a product. So I can gamble this away and
    scratch it off as a loss if need be(and unicorns).

  • Matthew Fry

    This would be pretty cool if it were real.

  • John Smith

    it would be cool to have a product like this where the display is the entire outer circumference of the ring.

  • John

    Obvious scam is obvious. And yet they've raised a quarter million. It's sad how gullible people on the internet are. Throwing money at a handful of crappy renders.

  • http://www.nottybuzz.com Notty Buzz

    There is one more device that you can consider. It is fully functional and tested. You can contribute to my campaign and help me bring it to everybody for the lowest price on the market.

    I wanted to be as transparent as possible regarding this campaign so I opted on sharing the development process with everybody. I have made live tests with the alpha project and posted videos of it's functionality.

    Notty Buzz is also on Indiegogo because I live in Romania and Kickstarter is not available here for the moment.

    Thanks to everybody interested on founding or promoting this campaign and to all technology enthusiasts in general !