The word “smart” gets attached to a lot of devices these days: smartwatch, smartphone, smart gun, smart home, and much more.
Now say “hello” to the smart pocket-watch.
Monohm’s Runcible, currently attracting buzz at this week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, looks like a Victorian-era pocket watch with a digital screen for a face. It features a camera aperture, support for LTE and Wi-Fi, swappable back covers, an operating system based on Mozilla’s open-source Firefox OS, and a reversible USB port. Collectors of unique digital devices—as well as steampunk aficionados—could find themselves developing an emotional connection to the Runcible, but the device might prove a harder sell to folks who think their smartphones (or smart wrist-watches) are a perfectly acceptable way to check email and tell time.
According to The Verge, which spied the device on display at the MWC, Runcible users can focus and zoom the camera-lens by twisting the body of the device. The Runcible will also make phone calls, although it’s questionable how many people would give up their current device for a modern update of something that went out of mainstream style a century ago.
A press release from Monohm (PDF) suggests that the Runcible will cost as much as a “premium, unlocked smartphone,” or several hundred dollars. No word about possible calling/data plans. And here’s the big question: Will it still look stylish a century from now?