Glanceable notifications have long been the promise of smart watches like the Galaxy Gear, but clumsy designs and poor interfaces have traditionally hindered them. British chipmaker CSR today unveiled a new line of Bluetooth Smart jewelry with a more traditional approach to notifications. Like the Blackberry's hackable, blinking Pearl trackball, CSR's jewelry boast Bluetooth Smart-connected LEDs that can be customized to display different colors when you receive different kinds of notifications on your phone. You can also use a companion app to pick a color to match your mood or outfit.
CSR's new products, designed in collaboration with jeweler Cellini, are in fact a tech demo for its latest chips — tiny wireless circuit boards that can be customized to power anything from activity monitors to tiny screens. Many of the company's customers are, in fact, headphone manufacturers like Bose, Sennheiser, and Beats. "The wireless speaker market grew by 181 percent in 2013 with Bluetooth accounting for 82 percent of the market," CSR says, citing a report from Futuresource Consulting.
Embedding the technology into jewelry, however, is interesting because it illustrates how you don't need a Pebble strapped to your wrist in order to gain some context on who's trying to reach you. You could program the chip to display a blue light for texts received and a green light for emails, for example. An LED on a necklace isn't exactly practical, but on a bracelet (or on a lanyard) might be a minimalist alternative to a chunky smart watch. It seems like CSR is hoping to convince its customer base to start thinking bigger than just headphones — especially since it says that the bundled 220mAh batteries will last years given the right circumstances. Digital credit card holder Coin's inventors recently made a similar claim about its batteries when used in combination with Bluetooth Low Energy radios.
You might never be able to buy CSR's range of jewelry, but if you're looking for a way to look tech-savvy without looking like a "Glasshole," svelte tech jewelry is not too far off.
Photo credit: Vlad Savov