Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

The Kairos T-band is a clever product that many people have considered but one that hasn't come to production yet (as far as I know). What is it? It is a replacement for your normal watch strap that is actually a "smart band" device. The problem the Kairos T-Band is trying to solve is allowing traditional watch wearers the ability to enjoy the benefits of connected smartwatch technology without having to replace a traditional timepiece that they may love. The Kairos T-Band is essentially a replacement strap for timepiece that includes a touch screen, battery, and hardware to offer the various functions people want from a connected wearable device.

You may have heard of Kairos based on our coverage of the brand back in June 2014. The Kairos concept was to produce a "hybrid" smartwatch that also includes a mechanical movement. A transparent touch screen was meant to sit over a traditional watch dial that was powered either by a Swiss Soprod movement or a less expensive Japanese Miyota movement. As of November 2014, the Kairos hybrid mechanical smartwatches are not yet available for sale, even though the Hong Kong-based development team is keeping fans regularly updated on their Facebook page with the development process. Kairos, like most of today's other start-up smartwatch makers, seems to be beset by production delays, so having to wait a long time after a successful crowd-funding (and additional investment) for the product is nothing to be surprised about. Having said that, Kairos stresses that their engineers are being particularly picky about overall quality and performance, and that Kairos hybrid smartwatches should begin to ship in either January or February of 2015.

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

Kairos founder Sam Yang informed me that he actually had the idea for the Kairos T-band prior to launching the funding campaign for the watches. "T-band" apparently stands for "transformation band," and, in his words, is what the T-band does to a traditional (mostly analog) watch. For him and many other watch lovers, being able to continue wearing beautiful mechanical watches is very important. My personal feelings are that the majority of smartwatches worn today and in the next few years will not be worn by people who are used to wearing watches on their wrist, but will rather occupy "empty wrist space." In order to get watch lovers to wear a smartwatch, the device must be extremely compelling. Or as Yang sees it, perhaps you can have both.

In my opinion, it will not take traditional watch lovers a lot of convincing to try something like the T-band. To start, Kairos as a company is founded by a watch lover who understands the reasons why smartwatches will not fully replace traditional watches, as well as the importance of design. The Kairos T-Band will not force consumers to choose between a watch they love and functionality they perhaps increasingly need. From the beginning, the Kairos T-Band will exist as a family of products and one that has a clear evolution path. At the most basic level, various sized metal connectors are provided given that wrist watches have a range of lug widths where the straps connect. Also, many timepieces have completely custom strap connectors that will not allow wearers to attach third party straps.

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

According to Kairos, the Kairos T-Band will be initially launched in three versions. The major differences include the types of displays and what functionality the user wants. All of the Kairos T-Bands will include the standard bevy of on-board sensors including an accelerometer and 3D motion detector as well as a heart rate and blood pressure sensor. The most basic model will be the Kairos T-band ND (for "No Display"). This simple model will merely track activity data and send it to a host smartphone device for those mostly interested in fitness and lifestyle tracking functions. Next is the Kairos T-band HD (for "hidden display"). This version will have a small display on the bottom of the strap so that it does not appear to people that your strap has a screen on it. Finally there will be the Kairos T-band OD. This model has a PMOLED curved touch screen that will exist on the inner part of the strap that faces the wearer. This will have a curved screen similar to that on the Samsung Gear S smartwatch.

For now, the Kairos T-band will have a proprietary operating system, currently without an official name. Kairos states the desire to include Android Wear into future Kairos T-Band products, but that for now, the power consumption needs of Android Wear is simply too high for satisfactory user performance. Nevertheless, the Kairos T-Band is intended to be compatible with apps on both Apple iOS and Google Android-based devices. Kairos is even very proud of some special partnerships they have with companies such as Misfit as well as Microsoft, who are both strong development partners.

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

According to Kairos, the T-band will have a battery that will deliver somewhere between 190 and 250mAh of power. This is said to power the device from between 3 to 10 days - which is rather impressive. More interesting is an accessory that might go with the T-band that many watch lovers will find appealing. Kairos teased a new hybrid watch winder and charger for their hybrid smartwatches. The device is meant to rotate a watch so that the automatic mechanical movement can wind while at the same time charging the battery. If this special winder is made for the T-band, then users can wind their automatic watches while charging the T-band - which again would be another clever move from their engineers.

Even the materials used to produce the exterior of the Kairos T-Band are flexible. According to Kairos, the T-band can be made from rubber, silicone, or even various types of leather. This means customers will not only have some interesting options, but will best be able to match them to an intended timepiece when it comes to style. This is something really important when it comes to the appeal of a timepiece, whether it is smart or traditional.

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

Kairos T-Band Strap With Screen Turns Any Watch Into A Smartwatch Watch Releases

Note that all of the images of the Kairos T-band are shown with the company's MSW 115 or SSW 158 Hybrid Mechanical Smartwatches, but the Kairos T-Band will presumably sold without a case, given that it is meant to connect to a timepiece the customer already has. As you can see, the strap claps is in a unique position so as not to interfere with the internal hardware. It also means that the strap needs to be cut to size for each wearer - which seems like a minor drawback.

One interesting point to discuss is that Kairos actually wants to work with traditional watch brands and see how they can offer versions of their products with traditional mechanical watches. Kairos feels that brands such as TAG Heuer (who have exclaimed interest in smartwatches) might be wise to offer beautiful traditional timepieces attached to a Kairos T-Band strap. Of course, the big question is when the Kairos T-band will be available and how much it will cost. I want to remind you that the Kairos T-Band will be a quickly evolving product, especially with the amount of interest I am sure it will garner. In many ways, it is the type of transitional product (or simply "compromise product") that traditional watch lovers need in order to enjoy the allure of a smartwatch, while still wearing the timepieces they love. Kairos will launch a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo on November 17th, 2014. Kairos claims that their first campaign (for the watches) netted them $1.3 million, and that they have already raised another million dollars in series A funding after that. For the Kairos T-Band they claim to have plans for raising another $10 million in investment funding after the crowd-funding campaign is completed. Prices for the Kairos T-band smart strap will start at $149 for the pre-order and $249 after that. kairostband.com

What do you think?
  • I want it! (3)
  • Thumbs up (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • I love it! (0)
  • Finally a smartwatch product designed by watch dudes who “get it” that people want to keep their mechanical watches. I don’t know that I really need “smart” capabilities on my wrist, but this is a cool toy so I’d get one if they can in 20mm width and could fit under the “lug rings” on my watches. The combination winder is exactly the right idea also and will no doubt double their revenue proposition (which is smart selling for them). Sure hope it works as advertised as I really like the idea. Plus you can always swap the strap off and put on something dressier if you need a more formal look (keeping your mechanical watch either way). The fitness only version does nothing for me (I’m a slug who tries to conserve heart beats) but having models with a easy to see or discreet screen is another great idea. I’d almost prefer the “hidden display” but I worry a bit about whacking it as the screen will be where my wrist comes down on onto desks, etc. 
    Ariel – please keep posting more on this (in contrast the tide of Apple Watch “news” in the media these days) as more information becomes available. Nice to see that they are seeking to work with watch brands. Instead of predicting their demise (like that blowhard fruit company).

  • joshgraves

    I often complain about watch products being overpriced, but this is the first product posted here that seems underpriced.  It will be interesting to see how the final $150 product rates in terms of quality.  I’m afraid for the starting price we’ll end up with toy quality electronics.

  • TakuKodama

    ?????????????????????KAIROS???????????????EL????????????

  • X2Eliah

    I do hope they manage to get out an android-wear compatible device. Proprietary is un-interesting. 
    The general concept is quite good, though, I can see this kind of product being useful.

  • Fraser Petrick

    They won’t stop, will they.

  • While I think this is the best advancemant in ‘smartwatch’ technology I’ve seen – you get to keep your real watch and still be ‘connected’, I still do not want. One morsel here that will be interesting to navigate is the managing of 2 different power reserves. My watch needs to be wound every other day, and the ‘smart’ band on it needs to be juiced up every 3rd or 4th, etc? That’ll be interesting. At least with a watch, if the PR runs down, just wind it up. Your smart band dies while you;re on the subway? Looks like you’ll have to actually look at your phone for the rest of the day (the horror!). 

    Honestly, I just must be really stupid, because I just cannot figure out why I would want my watch to tell me that I have an email or text message on my phone. There is literally zero need for that in my life. Of course, in watches, there is often little to do with need and ladles and ladles of want, but I don’t want this tech either – it seems more annoying than anything else.

  • WATCH and CLOCK Collection

    I like this better than a smartwatch, this way you still can wear your favorite timepiece.

  • Mike K Kalil

    Adam Ferguson would you cop?

  • Ulysses31

    This is actually (gulp) a “good” idea.  The device is discreet.  It doesn’t have that kitschy embarrassing 50’s sci-fi aesthetic that certain smart-watches have.  You can keep your existing watch.  Their hybrid watch is also one of the best attempts at a smart-watch i’ve seen so far.  While I can’t see a use for the technology myself, barring some sort of brain injury that renders me incapable of remembering small lists or of being able to remove my phone and look at it, I think it is a move in the right direction for those who absolutely must have yet another piece of disposable technology in their lives.

  • Aytunc

    I think this is a great idea but quite botched execution.

    at this stage, an unknown OS, with gimmicky functions,  lack of modularity so that it can be applied to 16-22 mm different lug widths & band openings, and the laughably low price point makes me not take this seriously

  • CG

    Runaway! Runaway!

  • bichondaddy

    Let’s see…we have Google Glasses, Smart watches, Smart phones, Smart Watch Straps….what’s next….smart jock straps?

  • Ulysses31 While I think that the Kairos hybrid watch may have a future among adults, this smart strap, like smart watches, still seems to have come in a cereal box.

  • TakuKodama This, I think…

  • bichondaddy Information for the little head!

  • kairoswatches

    Aytunc Hi Aytunc~ thanks for the comment. unknown OS – we’re working very hard at it! 🙂 It’s based on the same RTOS platform as Pebble and we chose that for the reliability and power savings. The lug ends (16mm~22mm), that’s why we have the adapter (the grey part at the top of the T-band). Price is not MSRP but crowdfunding price -which are always discounted for the wait time. I think all will be better once we have our official campaign and website launched on the 17th.. revealing these details. 🙂

  • Aytunc

    kairoswatches Aytunc Hi, thanks for the reply. I didn’t see the modular openings on the prototype pics, but looking at the sketches, i wasn’t sure if that was a part of the watch or the band. Thanks for clearing that. 

    Glad to hear that you guys are using the pebble platform, that makes it much more exciting with robust app support ( i have the kickstarter edition of a pebble). 

    I am looking forward to see updates from you guys.. I would even sign up to have the first Omega Speedmaster pictured with this strap.

  • Gary Sungulyan

    Forget the band who makes the watch?

  • Fraser Petrick

    bichondaddy  That sounds uplifting.

  • Time2Go

    I like the concept for sure, but speaking as an investor I’d be highly unlikely to give this company another cent until they successfully deliver their first crowd-funded project. Now they’re already planning a completely new crowd-funded project? I can only offer one word of advice: FOCUS

  • Those are the upcoming Kairos watches.

  • kairoswatches

    Time2Go FOCUS. We are getting this a lot. However, please keep in mind that we are using the same PCB, same Firmware, same suppliers, same mechanical watch as to our hybrid. Many people think we are diverting, but in fact we believe we are using our resources smartly. The T-band is also our answer to some of our hybrid customers who asked if they can just buy our watch only because they just like the design .. and don’t want to bother with the low transparency from the TOLED. But! yes…  we will definitely take your comment to heart and focus focus focus…;)

  • brainwise

    At that price point, I’m definitely interested in checking it out.

  • i like this concept this,, i think it is better concept than other smart watch.

  • jojo1976

    hello!
    This is the screen Samsung Gear Fit 1.84 “Super AMOLED touchscreen display Curved (432 x 128 pixels)? 
    What’s new? Sensors also samsung ?? to invest too many questions !!
    the first watches are already book?
    next step 🙂 
    watch creator

  • jojo1976
  • Kevin Mc Murray

    Got me all excited, and then I saw it wasn’t real.

  • Hakim Wright

    Je’Mahl Ray

  • Je’Mahl Ray

    This is coming people. If they can make a fake one they can make a real one… #justwait

  • Brian Weis

    I am interested in this.

  • kairoswatches

    jojo1976 hi jojo, yes it is. Samsung Display provided us with their Gear Fit display to make our POC (proof of concept prototype). It’s not the same display that we will use for the real product. Other than that we are not using any other Samsung products.

  • kairoswatches

    Hi Kevin, we have all the components in place except for the battery and display. It takes several months for tooling and molding to be made until mass production can start. We have POC for now, but hopefully in a few months we’ll have production models ready to ship! 🙂

  • xnike

    kairoswatches jojo1976 Will be T Band available as pack with non-smart Kairos Watches for early bakers? I see that TOLED display could not provide level of transparancy I wish.

  • kairoswatches

    @xnike @kairoswatches @jojo1976 Hi xnike, yes you are absolutely right. 🙂  we will have combo sets available as well.

  • Jef_in

    Had this concept in my mind since the Samsung Gear shipped.  Kairos is on the right track, specially for the owners of prestigious brand mech/automatic watches.  Strap adaptors to connect to any type of watch would be the next development piece. 
    The basic heart and pulse rate with pedo+distance functions would be the killer piece.  Just add NFC/BLUETOOTH or WIFI for data and connectivity.  Heck it should sell solid on it’s own to hospitals, parks, camp grounds and adventure trails.
    Now off to the workshop to tinker.

  • smartwatchme

    There’s a device that’s very similar this one as in the works as well
    http://smartwatch.me/t/wotch-transform-your-watch-into-a-smart-device/590

  • Pierre Collet

    Hi,

    Any hope this works with IOS ?

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