Whether it's a smartwatch or Google Glass, wearable devices have largely struggled to be fashionable accessories. Mighty Cast is hoping to change with its upcoming Nex Band — part customizable charm bracelet, part sensor-equipped smart device. "It's like a connected Pandora bracelet," CEO Adam Adelman says.
"It's like a connected Pandora bracelet."
The Nex looks a bit like a Nike FuelBand, but the biggest difference is that it doesn't have a traditional display; instead, there are five notches where you can insert tiny pieces, called mods. Some of these are simply decoration — you can get ones displaying a tiny skateboard or shoe to express your personality — but others are actually functional. The device will come with four decorative mods and one functional one, and with its built-in sensors and multicolor LED lights it can be customized to perform different actions, whether it's basic fitness tracking features or sending simple, color-coded light messages to someone else wearing a Nex Band. You can even get it to provide smartwatch-like functions, pairing it with your mobile device to light up a specific color when you get a phone call.
But the team is also attempting to build something of a gaming ecosystem, as well. Future pieces could be used to interact with upcoming mobile games, and the company is already courting developers. One potential use for the device is to import items or characters into a game just by snapping them into the band — think of it like buying Disney Infinity figures for a mobile game, only you wear them on your wrist. Mighty Cast is currently working on a game itself, which Adelman describes as a Clash of Clans-style strategy game.
Coming up with compelling reasons to buy new mods — which will be priced at $9.99 and up each — will be vital to the Nex band's success. Adelman says that the company is already in talks with some notable game developers, but on a platform where users often balk at paying $0.99 for a new app, it remains to be seen whether they'll be willing to drop even more money for additional features and a new little charm. The Nex Band is expected to launch by the third quarter of the year, and you can preorder now for the discounted price of $49.99, half off the eventual retail value.