Kickstarter project promises to make any watch smart

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Glance smartwatch accessory

All modern smartwatches suffer from one big problem: They’re not the watch you already own and love. Using one means giving up your favorite timepiece in favor of something bulky, clunky, complicated, and often expensive.

But what if you could keep your existing watch while adding smarts to your wrist? That’s the idea behind Glance, a smartwatch-style accessory designed to work with nearly any wristwatch.

This little gizmo, which slips underneath your watchband, is curved to match the contours of your wrist. It features a large, single-line organic light-emitting diode display that can show you who’s calling or the contents of a text message, using insanely cool Spritz technology to help you digest messages with ease. And, of course, it vibrates to alert you of these events.

Neat, right? If that’s all the Glance did, it would be enough, because that really fits my definition of what a smartwatch should do. Vibration alerts? Check. Notification text? Check. Say no more — sold!

But the creators of the Glance packed even more capabilities into it, starting with motion tracking: It can work as an air mouse with your TV or computer, and it can measure your activity level. It can locate your phone with the push of a button and send a canned reply to callers, either with a button-press or a flick of the wrist.

Glance app

The device is currently water-resistant, though the company is working to making it waterproof, which is ironic as most watches aren’t. Glance comes in three sizes to better match your wristband, or you can get a leather wristband if you don’t currently wear a watch.

On paper, the Glance looks like nothing but good news. The bad news is that it’s not a real product just yet; it’s a Kickstarter project in search of $150,000 (Canadian) in funding. As of this writing, it’s just past the $35,000 mark with around three weeks left to go.

If you’re interested in becoming a backer, you can get one of the first production Glances for $70 Canadian, about $64 U.S., plus $15 for shipping if you live outside of Canada. That’s for the aluminum finish; a gold or silver finish will cost you $80 Canadian. It remains to be seen how much the Glance will cost after it goes into production (assuming it does), but typically the early-backer prices are below eventual retail.

Either way, be prepared to wait: the aluminum and gold/silver Glances have estimated delivery months of October and December, respectively, and Kickstarter-project delivery dates routinely slip — often by quite a while.

My take: For $65 I’d snap up one of these in a heartbeat — though I’d probably want to read some reviews first. Like I said, this looks pretty sweet on paper. Here’s hoping it’s just as good in real life.

Photo Credit: Glance

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