It's not FaceTime, but it will let you make video calls straight from your wrist.
Mike SorrentinoSenior Editor
Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
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The Wristcam, the $299 (roughly £240, AU$420) Apple Watch accessory that pairs the watch with a wristband camera, is getting updated to include live video calling from your wrist. Wristcam is announcing the update Thursday, and will be rolling out to existing and new Wristcam devices.
The Wristcam, first announced in late 2020, already supports photography and video recording through two cameras: One is a 2-megapixel selfie camera positioned just above the watch face and the other a 8-megapixel forward-facing camera. The camera device itself can be placed inside of a wristband that comes with the Wristcam, with a noticeable bump to accommodate it. The device costs just as much -- if not more -- than the Apple Watch, but also can potentially push the Apple Watch and other smartwatches toward replacing a phone entirely for some people.
I haven't yet tested the Wristcam's video calling myself, but watched it through a demo with Wristcam co-founders Ari Roisman and Matt Frischer. The experience acts much like placing a video call through most apps: You can call both another Wristcam user or call another iOS device that has Wristcam installed. Calling will also work whether your Apple Watch is Wi-Fi only or has LTE cellular connectivity.
Roisman said that the video calling experience is a starting point for Wristcam, and that the company is also announcing WristcamOS to welcome third-party development with the Wristcam in mind. When asked about the possibility of Apple introducing its own version of FaceTime on the Apple Watch, Roisman said that the idea appears unlikely due to the current state of battery technology and rumors that Apple is instead pivoting toward a more rugged Apple Watch.
"I don't anticipate seeing anything comparable from Apple for at least three generations, and wouldn't be surprised if it was closer to 10," Roisman said.
My colleague Scott Stein first tested the Wristcam last year, noting that he was able to take it into the water since the device is water resistant, with an IP68 rating. The camera has its own separate charger, and to take photos he could use either the app or a physical shutter button.
The wristbands for Wristcam currently come in black and gray for the $299 edition and sage green in a $399 limited edition. Frischer said that additional colors are also on the way, including white and twilight blue.
Wristcam's new announcement comes as wearable tech appears to be developing beyond just watches, including augmented reality glasses and contact lenses. Meta, Snap and many other companies appear to be pushing further into the wearable tech space, targeting product launches over the next few years.
Watch this: Apple Watch Series 7: Long-Term Review