Will.I.Am and News Corp launch emotion detecting wearables

By Paul McIntyre and Rosie Baker | 16 October 2014

News Corp is making a move into the wearables market as a way of distributing content through an exclusive partnership with American rapper and singer Will.I.Am. WIll.I.Am revealed his Puls wearable device at Dreamforce in the US today (16 October).

It's described as a “multifunctional cuff", not a watch, and News Corp reckons it will help “reimagine journalism for wearables.”

US telco AT&T is the exclusive partner in the US, and O2 is the UK partner. The rush is on for Australian telco to get the exclusive partnership, but it's not known if an Australian partner has been identified. The product will launch in the US before Christmas.

Puls comes with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram built in. News Corp is on-board as the exclusive content partner and revealed the strapline I.AM/News. It will be developing a way to deliver news content on the device.

Wearables are touted as the next big thing with Apple and Samsung marching into the space, but a common problem is the aesthetics.

Puls is the first wearable device to have an emotion detector; it can pick up tone of voice, measure heartbeat, mood and emotion. The Puls could also be extended to a “wearables clothing range” that would be able to charge the device.

The product is being pitched as a fashion accessory, rather than a tech device, with former editor-at-large of American Vogue lamenting the “ghastly” state of fashion in the current crop of available wearables and saying the range “is big” news.

Will.I.Am told the conference that “the power of fashion and technology is ginormous”.

Puls is built on the Android platform, has a sim card, makes calls, texts and is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled.

Paul McIntyre is at Dreamforce, Salesforce's annual technology convention, as a guest of Salesforce.

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