Much smartwatch discussion has so far focused on devices like the Samsung Gear, Pebble Steel and Apple's rumored iWatch. Rather than create a smartwatch from scratch like these examples, Glance simply slips under the user's strap to turn their existing watch into a smartwatch.
For people who still wear watches, the appeal is often as much to do with style and appreciation of the device as it is functionality. The idea of replacing a watch collection, or even just a favorite watch, with a single new smartwatch, therefore, is something that a lot of people may not entertain.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Glance offers users the option of having a device with smartwatch functionality, without having to do away with an existing watch. It is a curved accessory with a raised screen on one side and a raised lip on the other. A channel runs between the screen and the lip into which the user's watch strap is slotted. Users just slip Glance underneath their watch strap and it is held in place.
"The concept first started last year from an engineering conference where it was suggested that we should make a strap for a watch," says Kiwi Wearables founder John David Chibuk. He explains that the idea was developed quickly using the company's iterative approach, with the design finalized over about four weeks. "We are quick to try and break, this allows us to figure out what works and then we channel our efforts into areas that drive maximum value for our customers," he adds.
Two questions immediately spring to mind when looking at Glance: how comfortable will it be and how easily will it stay in place? Kiwi (which previously created the Kiwi Move), has gone to some effort to dispel any concerns on these issues, publishing videos entitled "How comfortable is Glance?" and "Will Glance fall off?".
As well as a slim OLED screen on which information is displayed, Glance features Bluetooth connectivity by which it is paired with a user's mobile device. Once in place, Glance allows users to see who is calling, filter their calls, read incoming text messages via the Spritz reader, provide a canned response to messages with the touch of a button, control a smart TV and computer with gestures, and track user activity levels.
A lithium-polymer battery will power the device for one week. Glance boasts 3D motion sensing and haptic feedback, and it is compatible with iOS and Android, for which it has mobile apps to customize the device's settings.
The device's casing is formed from aluminum and looks simple, understated and tasteful. Perhaps most importantly, it is quite discrete. Users can choose one of three sizes depending on the size of their watch strap.
Glance is coming to the end of a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. It looks set to miss its target, but Chibuk says that in such an eventuality, funding will be sought from elsewhere and the device relaunched. Backers can pledge none-the-less, with an early-bird price of CAD$70 (US$65) getting you a device if the campaign does get funded and all goes to plan with production.
You can watch the Kickstarter pitch video for Glance below.