The verdict is still out on whether smartwatches are a legitimately useful thing to strap to your wrist. But setting Apple Watch dweebiness aside, a very limited, completely dedicated wristputer for winter sports could make real sense.
Smartphones and cold do not mix: either, you keep your phone buried under 18 layers and it’s warm and inaccessible, or you take it out in 10-degree weather, and it dies instantly. I’ve been using a Pebble smartwatch since they first came out to combat this exact problem—checking texts and switching music without having to pull my phone out—but the small buttons aren’t ideal.
YodelUp is a Kickstarter project for a much more specific kind of wearable. It’s basically a chunky, screenless watch aimed at skiers and snowboarders. It’s got two functions: letting you use big rocker buttons to control music, and a push-to-talk button that pairs with your phone to emulate a walkie-talkie.
It’s $100 on pre-order, which is a steep price for a glorified Bluetooth remote with a wrist strap. But that said, it’s cheaper than other smartwatches out there, and definitely better designed for skiing. As ever, it’s buyer beware with Kickstarter projects, although this one at least has a working prototype.