I don’t know much about teens, but I’m told they have short attention spans and enjoy EDM music. They’re probably not into wearables, but regardless, tech companies are trying to turn them into wearable freaks. Mighty Cast is releasing a wearable later this month that it thinks will appeal to the post-millennial generation. The Nex Evolution is a combination fitness tracker / smart home controller that relies on a unique blinking light interface.
Instead of a screen, the Nex has five lights that can be programmed for controls and notifications. Each module, as Mighty Cast calls them, can be programmed to do something different. So one might display notifications for your texts while the other controls your smart lights. The modules are all touch-sensitive, provide haptic feedback, and work with IFTTT, which means that you can tell your middle module to flash three blue lights whenever you get a text, and your top module to let you control Spotify when you tap twice. You set all these custom module controls through the Nex’s companion iOS / Android app. You and your Nex-wearing friends can also send each other light messages or play games, like Simon. So I guess if you buy a Nex you have to buy all your friends one, too.
One thing to note is that the Nex relies on a custom charger, which is deeply annoying because all your existing chargers are useless. Mighty Cast says it can hold a charge for three days with heavy use. The Nex Evolution will be released later this month for $79.99.
Mighty Cast is also planning to release another wearable, which looks exactly like the Nex Evolution but features special modes to improve Ingress gameplay. This band will come out some time this year, but we don’t have a specific date or price. The Ingress Mod Band runs on the same app as the Nex with a couple extra settings for Ingress, like the ability to receive faction or team-specific notifications, including portal attack notices, and the ability to pin drop locations. But it can’t interact with the game itself, so you’ll still have to open it on your phone.
Listen, we can all agree that wearables have plateaued, but I’m intrigued by the Nex Evolution because of its interface and ability to be customized. My guess is that Nex will end up facing the same problem as any other wearable: it’s difficult to get people to continue wearing a device, let alone to keep something charged. But maybe Ingress players will keep Nex alive.