A company you’ve probably never heard of, Mighty Cast, has today announced a pair of interesting new wearable devices at CES 2017. The Nex Evolution doesn’t have a full display, but rather opts for five small tappable buttons called “Mods” that can be customized to do almost anything using the companion app and light up to provide phone notifications. And the second device is being made in partnership with Niantic for Ingress, the sibling of the wildly popular Pokemon Go game.
As mentioned, there are two separate but nearly identical devices that Mighty Cast is showing off today. The first, Nex Evolution, is a customizable wearable that will go on sale soon for $80, while the second (simply called the “Ingress Mod Band” for now) is basically the same exact device made in partnership with Niantic for the popular mobile game Ingress. The second device will go on sale later, but packs special features to make playing the AR game even more fun.
The Nex Evolution is a fitness tracker in form factor (and some functionality), but the pitch with this product is much more than that. It can of course track things like steps, calories, and distance, but it also has five “Mods” that give it some smartwatch-like functionality that’s fully customizable via the Nex app. These five separate “Mods” have individual lights behind them, and each one can be programmed (“hacked”) to do different things with a tap. You can have one “Mod” control a light (or almost any IOT device) in your house, for example, and another can control music volume on your phone. These Mods can also be programmed with IFTTT, so the possibilities go about as far as IFTTT has partnerships — and that’s pretty far.
Here’s what the app looks like:
The device also provides notifications, but not in the same way a smartwatch would. The company told me that they found when doing focus groups for the product that almost no one wanted to read text on a smart device on their wrist, so the team designed a way for notifications to be shown via patterns by way of the Mods’ lights. You can customize these colorful light patterns and vibration patterns so that you always know which app has a notification waiting for you on your phone.
The Ingress Mod Band is basically a limited edition version of the Nex Evolution, but with custom lights for special Ingress-related functionality. You can set it up to receive faction-specific notifications, trigger fun Ingress sound effects, pin drop a location to share with Ingress teammates, and reveal unique “secret tips and tricks” Ingress videos and content. The hardware of the watch is almost identical to the Nex Evolution, and the Ingress band works with all the same functionality that the Nex app provides.
Both devices will of course work with both Android devices and iOS devices, and Mighty Cast says that they should get a few days of battery life with moderate usage. The Nex Evolution will be launching soon for $80 at a variety of retail outlets, while the Ingress Mod Band will be coming at some future date.