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Leikr's GPS sportswatch: how a group of ex-Nokia triathletes are innovating on the wrist

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leikr lead
leikr lead

The Leikr GPS sportswatch launched on Kickstarter last week, and we just had a chance to sit down with head of US product development Ryan Krems to take a look at their prototype and learn about how the company got its start. The team behind Leikr all previously worked at Nokia's now-closed Copenhagen office, and are all avid athletes. That focus on athletic usage shows up in Leikr's design — the watch is more functional than stylish. It features a two-inch color display with Gorilla Glass; the screen itself is reflective, so the colors are a bit more washed out than your average smartphone, but readability in the sun should be much improved. That's a major factor for the Leikr's target market, as is the quick GPS lock-on. While the watch's design isn't going to turn any heads, it should absolutely meet the needs of athletes who want to track their workouts.

Krems also told us about Leikr's production goals — the first watches should be available to Kickstarter backers in June, and Leikr feels strongly that its background with production at Nokia will be a major factor in meeting those goals. Generally, the company's goal is to use its background in phones to push innovation in the smartwatch category; Krems feels that current products in the category have stagnated a bit, and hopes that Leikr will bring the rapid pace of phone innovation to the company's chosen market.

Part of that innovation will be software updates to enable a number of features that aren't currently working on the Leikr — the hardware board has a built-in accelerometer that'll be enabled down the line, for example. And the team is leaning on its Nokia heritage by the software that's running under the hood. The watch is running on the Linux QT framework which Nokia purchased and used on the Meego platform. For more from Krems on Leikr's Kickstarter project, check out our interview below — and if you're in Las Vegas and want to check out the Leikr for yourself, the company will be in the lobby of the Wynn at 6pm PT tonight.