One of the most visible ways we see mobile electronics mature over time is how relative screen sizes grow, and non-screen components shrink, until these gadgets are utterly dominated by their displays; just compare an old phone like the Nokia 3310, all keyboard and speaker (with just a tiny screen), to a modern handset like the LG G4, with a screen that nearly fills the phone’s face. We’re already seeing signs of the same evolution happening with smartwatches, as early models like the original, chunky Pebble give way to screen-dominated models like Samsung’s Gear S2. But some manufacturers are hoping to bring us wearables that hand over even more real estate to their screens, and earlier this month Polyera announced a wristband that’s more screen than not, the Wove Band.
The Wove Band is essentially one big, flexible, e-paper display, stretched out into a bracelet. The technology is more akin to what you find in a Kindle than the “e-paper” of a Pebble smartwatch (that’s really just an LCD), letting Wove offer an always-on screen without draining the wearable’s battery.
Developer previews of prototype hardware are supposed to arrive sometime next month, followed by further previews later this year, and ultimate commercial sales getting underway in summer 2016.
For the moment, though, we haven’t heard a lot about what the Wove Band will do: what kind of software features it will offer, what compatibility to expect with popular smartphones, nor what sort of hardware to expect beyond the giant e-paper display. Understandably, with all those details missing, we also don’t have a clue about possible pricing. So while there are a lot of questions we need answered before we start getting excited about this guy, it’s a heck of an interesting-looking concept, and we’d love to see if the Wove Band really has what it takes to hit retail next year as promised.