At this year’s CES, Razer wowed the audience with a product that once again has it stepping out of its comfort zone and into something entirely new, as if shocking the world with their Razer Blade gaming laptop or trying to muscle in on the voIP scene with their free Razer Comms wasn’t enough.
They’ve now announced the Razer Nabu, a smartband wearable that has nothing to do with gaming at all. Just check out the video, which mentions gaming a grand total of zero times (unless you count the lady playing on her laptop).
Instead, it looks like Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan wants to snag a piece of the growing smart-wearables marketplace while it’s still nascent. The growth of it in the past year or two, with plenty of notables such as FitBit or Pebble, might have made it seem a good time.
The Nabu smartband in trademark Razer jet black and neon green though is hoping to go one step further. By pairing itself with your phone, the band will send notifications when you’ve got a phone call, email and so forth. Unlike other such wearables however, there’s both a public and private “face” for the band. So if you’re in the middle of a talk, you can glance to the wristband to see there’s a message and ignore that—incredibly handy when I’m interviewing and my phone goes off in my pocket—on your public face.
If you need a little more information, you can flip over to your wrist to see the private side, which gives you a little more information such as who’s calling or what the message is.
If you want to ignore it, you can just shake your wrist to cancel the call or dismiss the message, which is awesome enough and evades the staring, accusatory eyes of people going “Don’t you want to take that?” That having been said, if that were all it was doing, well, Razer would probably be amongst the rest of the pack, really. Instead, it one ups by adding in the kitchen sink of what everyone else is doing. Steps taken? Sleep data? Band-to-band NFC communications? The ability to choose what you want tracked? Nabu is promising to do it all and more, including opening up its backend platform for third-party developers to come in as well.
This is big news mostly because, well, here’s a gaming company, that makes gaming products, and it’s stepping out into a new field (arguably, still well within its realms of peripherals) and competing with the people who’ve gone before and are now ahead of them. It’ll be interesting to see just how this plays out, if nothing else, in the race ahead for more smart wearables.
The Razer Nabu is set to go on sale late quarter 1 this year, with price to be determined. At the same time, they also announced Project Christine, a new way of looking at building your computer by turning it into a modular plug-and-play system.