Will.i.am Thinks We're Idiots, Makes Another Smartwatch

Illustration for article titled Will.i.am Thinks We're Idiots, Makes Another Smartwatch

When Will.i.am launched the Puls smartwatch/bangle/jewelry 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 $28. I shit you not.

The centerpiece 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 wifi. 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 $28 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.

[The Telegraph]

Image: Andrew Liszewski

Contact the author at darren.orf@gizmodo.com.



I simply don’t get this guy. He was a huge part of one of the largest bands decade ago, he racked up tons of money, I presume is smart-ish and business savvy-ish, right? Right?? So, why does he insist on having his name on all these projects that are doomed to fail from the start? I mean, if he came up with a new concept of some sort and we weren’t sure how’d it do on the market, I’d get it - he is a risk taker and an innovator. But, taking on Apple Watch and Android Wear - two multi billion dollar companies with crazy R&D budgets, and they still manage to produce fairly mediocre smart watches - what is he thinking ? Why would a rational person think that this will work? Is his ego so huge that he thinks so highly of himself? I watched him on Top Gear, so that might be the answer.