What’s the one big feature your Apple Watch is missing? If you said a camera, then your wait is almost over. It’s called Wristcam, and it brings a pair of cameras that can shoot stills and video to your Apple Watch’s strap. Cameras on smartwatches are a forgotten genre, with past examples adding dubious benefit to the first wave of serious smartwatches years ago. And it turns out that despite the new name, Wristcam is itself not entirely new either.
The Wristcam has an 8-megapixel main camera that faces out into the world, and a second 2MP camera for taking selfies. The Wristcam app shows a viewfinder on the Watch’s screen, along with a shutter button, and the main cam can shoot 1080p video. It has its own battery rather than adding additional strain to the Watch’s own cell, and is recharged using a USB cable. The Wristcam’s battery is expected to last for a day. All photos and videos are stored in its own 8GB memory.
In addition to stills and video, the Wristcam has a feature for sharing live or recorded video clips with friends. Photos and video can be shared straight from the watch, or transferred to your iPhone to edit. A Quick Capture system makes it easy to use, with a single tap to take a still, a long press to record video, and a double tap to switch from the front camera to the main camera. It connects to the Watch and iPhone using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Why would you want such a thing? According to Wristcam, it’s to ensure you always have access to a camera even if you leave your iPhone at home, or don’t have it on hand. There are two LEDs to tell those around you the camera is active, in an effort to avoid privacy concerns. The sacrifice you make is in wearability. The bulbous, 23=gram Wristcam module is attached to its own special Apple Watch strap, which comes in four different colors, and it does add a lot of bulk to the usually svelte Apple Watch.
Putting a camera on a smartwatch isn’t a new idea. Samsung put a camera on the original Galaxy Gear (released in 2013) and its sequel, the Galaxy Gear 2, but abandoned the feature after these models. Other smartwatches with a camera include the disastrous Neptune Pine, and odditiess like the Arrow Smartwatch. Cameras on the Apple Watch aren’t new either, as the team behind the Wristcam has explored the concept before.
Ari Roisman, Wristcam’s CEO and co-founder, started video messaging app Glide, and at CES 2017 revealed a complementary product called the CMRA, which was a band for the Apple Watch with two cameras inside. The company has since rebranded as Wristcam, according to a post on the CMRA support page hosted on its otherwise defunct website, with functionality and design of the product largely very similar.
Digital Trends contacted Wristcam to understand the situation better, and received the following response by email: “Wristcam originally launched as CMRA in 2016. The team has spent the last four years working on the design and the technical aspects of building a camera into a smart band, and they worked closely with Apple to ensure the functionality and design was just right. It paid off and they received “Made for Apple” designation.”
Regarding the original CMRA band, this is only now shipping to those who ordered it when it was first available in 2016. Deliveries should arrive before the end of the year.
The newly branded Wristcam is available to purchase today from the company’s own website for $ 299. This makes it more expensive than an Apple Watch SE, and also more than the CMRA band when it was first announced.