E3 2014

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Razer "Nabu" SmartBand

12 June 2014 | Written by Maxxum

There have been a lot of smart things developed of late - smart shirts, smart glasses, smart watches... whatever you want just add a chip and firmware to it and it'll be the latest smart thing. So, when I saw that Razer was developing a smart band they call the "Nabu", I wasn't immediately enthused because humanity has miniaturized CPU's and power-sources to such a degree that we can add them to practically anything and the idea has ceased to be novel. This is the short period in the development of new capabilities when we've discovered something useful, but haven't worked out the application. Moreover, the converge of technologies means that a smart thing will have features that exist on other smart devices, so a smart watch won't be more useful to me than a dumb watch since my cellphone can already do what any other watch does, negating the need for a time-piece, be it dumb or smart.

Enter Razer's Nabu:


The idea behind the Nabu is interesting in that it incorporates functions that often exist separately in other devices, while adding a social function as well. Furthermore, the application is elegant and the features that Razer has already incorporated during the development phase sound exciting. However, viewed in context against other devices I can't see how this will add functionality that can't be replicated by my existing tech, or whether that added functionality would matter even it were unique.

While smart devices add ease to our lives, I wonder why should I need something to keep track of my sleep cycles when I can look at a clock and add the hours, and why does one need a thing to tell them when they've received a text on their phone when they can simply look at their phone... is pulling a phone out of one's pocket such a waste of time and effort that one needs to wear a device on their wrist?

The Nabu is a really cool toy, but the novelty ends there - the social features described during the interview require another person to be wearing a Nabu as well. Razer wouldn't reveal the range of the Nabu, but it's a Bluetooth device so the range will be 100m under the best possible conditions. In a city like DC which has a population density of roughly 4,000 people per sq km, at least 100 people would need to be wearing a Nabu for everyone to be connected to someone else if the distribution were spread out evenly... conditions that are unlikely. It seems to me that Nabu would be best suited for social groups that share similar interests... like the gamers which Razer has been courting.

Visit Razer to learn more about the Nabu.

Videography by Ally