When Will.i.am launched the Puls smartwatch/bangle/jewellery thing in 2014, it was so bad, we were actually kind of impressed. (Let's also not forget the musician's disaster of a smartphone case, foto.sosho.) But Will.i.am is trying again. Undeterred by his past hardware disasters, the Black-Eyed Pea's thirsty frontman just announced a wrist computer called the Dial. Though some tabloids say this watch is going to "take on Apple", the Dial looks just as atrocious as its predecessor. Although demo videos and product shots show Will.i.am maybe learned a thing or two from the Puls kerfuffle, the Dial doesn't exactly offer anything substantially new; it's only offered in the UK; and you can only get it through a two-year contract with a monthly price of around £20 ($40). I shit you not.
The centrepiece to Dial is a voice assistant named AneedA. As Mr i.Am explained to The Sun, "The name AneedA is like Anita but modified because you use it when you 'need' something." Get it?
So there you go. In a demo posted by The Telegraph, Will.i.am can be seen -- kind of disinterestedly -- asking "AneedA listen to Kanye West" and Kanye West starts playing. It's not tethered to a phone, but thanks to an eSIM, the gadget can still make phone calls and send texts through 4G or Wi-Fi. Unlike pretty much every other smartwatch, the Dial does not have a search engine. Search queries are powered by partners like Yelp and Wolfram Alpha. Meanwhile, AneedA uses Nuance as its backend and the wearable comes with 32GB of storage. Of course, battery supposedly won't even last a day.
Oh also, the Dial has no apps. But Will.i.am says apps are over anyway:
The last paradigm was the apps thing. You use a mouse on a computer, and apps are for smartphones where the interface is touch. And for this next paradigm, the interface is voice.
If this thing cost like, a hundred bucks, sure. Whatever. But $40 a month for two years is just so insane. If I didn't know better, I'd think this is some artistic satire about humanity's collective ability to buy anything. Hell, maybe it is.
Image: Andrew Liszewski