Between Fitbit, Jawbone, FuelBand, Basis and countless more fitness bands, one might correctly assume that the market is a bit oversaturated at present. But where the majority of developers would bow out and take their ingenuity elsewhere, Razer has decided it wants center stage. It’s adding the one thing all other fitness bands seem to have purposefully excluded: an OLED display.
Razer Nabu—pronounced like “Naboo,” Jar Jar Binks’ home planet—is able to push various notifications including text messages, emails, calendar appointments, and Caller ID to the small display screen embedded in the device. In theory, having these features turns the fitness tracker into a sort of gateway device between the user and his or her smartphone, much like a smartwatch, but at the affordable price of $100.
The device is marketed as a fitness tracker first, coming complete with a companion app—which has been the subject of most of Nabu’s changes over the past year or so according to PCWorld. A slightly cheaper version of the band at $50 comes complete with LED lights rather than the full notification display for the puritans of the fitness band world.
So the question here is what niche will Razer Nabu fill? And while only time can truly tell where the device will shine, we foresee it vying with other fitness bands before taking a chunk out of the smartwatch market. The huge differentiator is the notification display, which puts other fitness tracker’s displays to shame by virtue of simply existing. But it still doesn’t compare to the display quality of say, the Apple (News - Alert) Watch.
There may also be a relatively unexplored market of consumers who are wary of the value of smartwatches, but would appreciate a fitness band that integrates into their social lives at some level. Because of Razer Nabu’s lightweight design, it has to pick and choose which notifications really matter. It can’t, for example, feed you updates about a pizza you ordered, or enlighten you with the latest New York Times article. But it provides just enough important information by pushing more commonly used social mediums—texts, emails, and call alerts—directly to your wrist, and in doing, the device finds a deeper purpose than simply counting your steps.
The future of fitness bands and smartwatches remains unwritten. Maybe Razer Nabu is the next big chapter, or maybe it’s just a footnote in the story of Fitbit’s eventual domination of the market.
I guess we’ll just have to wait until the device ships to find out for sure. And who knows when that will be?
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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