Judge of TV sing-off The Voice, maker of gaudy iPhone accessories and walking URL Will.i.am has announced that he will release his own smartwatch in July.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman says that unlike other smartwatches that rely on a connected mobile to make calls, his will include a dialling function (and so, presumably, a SIM card) built directly into the device.
Will.i.am showed off a bulky prototype during a segment on Alan Carr: Chatty Man, promising that it had access to all the usual social media sites (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and it could also be used to “work out with" with the addition of a pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones.
There was also a brief glance at the interface, which showed an animated circular icon similar to Cortana – Microsoft’s digital personal assistant for Windows Phone devices – while the man himself later tweeted that the device would be launching this July.
It’s entirely possible that the whole thing is just Will.i.am pouring money into an indulgent tech fantasy, but it’s not like this has stopped him in the past – as per his ludicrously named range of i.am+ foto.sosho iPhone cases.
This range of pricey accessories (the cheapest went on sale for £199) did little more than add extra camera functionality to an already well-equipped smartphone and the devices were panned by critics. Will.i.am himself was resolute, saying that the idea was not sell lots but to “seed” the device to “the right cultural influencers”.
Although it’s fair to say that Mr I.am is genuinely passionate about technology it's perhaps unfortunate that all of his previous endeavours have been characterised by inane self-promotion. Launching a smartwatch – a product that is still more about the hype than actual utility - would certainly fit this pattern.