Screen-free critter catching coming next week with wearable Pokémon Go Plus

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Niantic and Nintendo have announced that the Pokemon Go Plus, a wearable accessory for the AR mobile game, will be released next week(Credit: Nintendo)

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The Pokémon Go craze may have quietened down a bit since the game's release at the start of July, but from next week keen hunters will have a new way to catch 'em all with the Pokémon Go Plus. Originally scheduled for release at the end of July, the wearable accessory lets players find items and catch critters without relying on the smartphone app.

Even though the game gets players out and about discovering new places and landmarks, they usually have to walk around glued to the screen, which has led to reports of people being injured or wandering into areas they're not supposed to. According to developer Niantic, the Pokémon Go Plus is designed to make playing the game fit more seamlessly into everyday life.

Shaped like a PokéStop on a strap, the Pokémon Go Plus connects via Bluetooth Low Energy to an iOS or Android device running the game, and will alert the wearer when either a PokeStop or a Pokémon is nearby. When it's a critter in need of catching, the device will vibrate and the LED will flash green, and a tap of the button will throw a Pokéball. If successful, the device will flash and vibrate again to let the user know. Gathering items when in range of a PokéStop works in the same way.

Players won't know which items or Pokémon they've found until they check the in-app journal later. Screen-free hunting may streamline the game, but there's a risk you'll just end up wasting all your Pokéballs on Pidgeys and Rattatas that you'd normally ignore.

The wrist strap is also removable, so the device can be cliped to a pocket or bag. The Pokémon Go Plus is compatible with any iPhone from the 5 onwards, or any Android device running at least Android 4.4. Originally slated for release soon after the app itself back in July, it'll now be available from September 16, for US$34.99.

Source: Pokémon Go

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