BASEL, Switzerland -- Luxury fashion brand Gucci and musician Will.i.am are making a new fashion-focused smartband. Although no new product was officially unveiled at the Baselworld watch fair here, the former Black Eyed Peas star promised that the device will operate independently of a phone.
Both Will.i.am and Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri were wearing early prototypes. The devices appeared to be thick, wide bands that wrap around the wrist, rather than a typical watch face that houses the processor. They certainly didn't look particularly sleek -- or even that attractive -- but it's almost certain Gucci will have a tinker with the design before it goes on sale.
"A lot of people are creating wearable devices from a tech background. Gucci has been putting things on your body for years," Will.i.am said. "[Wearable tehnology] is being dictated by the wrong folks. We like to call it fashionology. It's where fashion and technology meet."
Will.i.am did discuss some of the band's features, including a front-facing camera for video calling on the move, a heart-rate sensor, temperature sensor and GPS. The band will be 3G-enabled, allowing it to make calls, send texts and connect to social networks without being tethered to a phone.
Most current smartwatches -- including Android Wear devices and the Apple Watch -- need to be connected to a phone in order to provide smart functions. One exception is the, which has its own 4G LTE data connection and can make calls too.
Asked how the band would fare against rivals, Will.i.am stated, "It's the dopest one."