For those of you waiting for wearable technology to start looking less like plastic and more like jewelry before you'll hop on that bandwagon: Prepare to leap. There's a new wearable device on the market, and it's damn good looking.
Ringly, a New York-based startup that counts tech heavyweights Andreesen Horowitz and First Round Capital as investors, launched its first product on Tuesday, a Bluetooth LE-enabled cocktail ring that buzzes to let you know when you've received a notification to your phone. Made in four semiprecious stone colorways and plated with 18K gold, it stands a good chance of fitting in with your existing jewelry.
Here's how it works: After hooking up the ring to Ringly's mobile app, you can set different vibration patterns and blinks of light (there's a tiny bulb on the side of the ring) to alert you to incoming calls, texts, emails, Instagram notifications, Snapchats, tweets, Vines, Tinder messages... the list goes on. Perhaps most importantly, the ring can also tell you when you've left your phone behind.
Wouldn't it just be easier to hold your phone and get those alerts directly? Well, sure. But there's something to be said for the fact that you can set up the ring to only let you in on those updates that matter most — say, an incoming call from the nanny, or an eBay notification for an item you're bidding on — allowing you to disconnect a bit from everything else. Because despite how socially acceptable it's become, constantly checking your phone at a dinner with friends is straight-up rude.
According to Ringly co-founder and CEO Christina Mercando, Ringly may be a tech company, but its target audience is a fashion-conscious one. As Mercando points out, "It doesn't look like technology."
Keeping the ring simple and classic was important, as was shrinking the internal hardware to a point where it was small enough to put in a reasonably sized ring. The version that's now on sale for $145 is the team's seventh iteration, Mercando says.
And it sounds like Ringly won't stop there. Mercando says that while the startup won't solely be building its business on collaborations, one of the motivations to keep the ring's hardware small was to make it easier to work with other designers down the line, should the occasion arise, which could be pretty interesting.