Embrace+ demonstrates that we can also push things too far with wearables

EmbraceplusThe new Embrace+ bracelet attracted a lot of attention last week and over the weekend. The slim bracelet is totally in line with the current trend of wearables, but I had my reasons for initially deciding not to write about it last week. Meanwhile, its makers have managed to raise more than three times the $80,000 funding goal via Kickstarter, which clearly shows that there is demand for a gadget like the Embrace+.

When I first wrote about the LinkMe back in April, the thought had already crossed my mind whether the frantically-flickering smart wrist billboard would seek funding via Kickstarter. The LinkMe makers did seem to have the wind in their sails and were even asked to appear on MSNBC and CNN. Sixty days later, the crowdfunding community issued its verdict in no uncertain terms: only $35,000 of the $100,000 funding goal had been achieved.

It seemed logical enough to me: the chrome wrist billboard offered no other features than telling the time and support for push notifications. When I studied the Kickstarter page for Embrace+ I quickly got the same feeling. If you wear this flickering glowstick on your wrist, it will notify you of every text message, push notification or email you receive whilst your phone is sitting in your pants pocket.

If you view the video above, you may well ask yourself the same question I did: “Why would a bright red flashing bracelet be any less irritating during meetings than a buzzing phone?” Because although you can configure the colors and animations with a convenient app, you’ll still have to dig your phone out of your pocket to see who’s calling or what a new email says.

Maybe I should have known better after the crowdfunding success of the Blink(1). Despite all the technological advances and broad range of possibilities, we are still crazy about bling and flashing gizmos: the Embrace+ didn’t stop at $80,000, but managed to attract no less than $264,527 in funding.

Bottom line: these types of projects are grist to the mill for hardware players who are currently developing smartwatches. Because if there is one thing that the Embrace+ shows, it’s that people are slowly but surely getting ready for (really) smart wearables. On to the next one!