OnBeep is looking to make communication more geolocated and radio-ish. The startup finally unveiled its Onyx wearable. Basically, it’s a small clip on walkie-talkie. Yes, some will compare it to the Star Trek communicator, but I can just see the office battles turning into a wannabe combat zone.
HR can have overwatch at the water cooler, while the IT guy sneaks up the left bank of cubicles. Solid copy? Yes, we are quickly entering into the next generation of wearable tech, and even walkie-talkies are getting an upgrade.
The Onyx is beyond simple. It’s push to talk. If there’s a mobile signal, you can harass your friends and coworkers. The design has a Nest Thermostat feel to it, the ring feature glows blue when you are talking, and yellow when the device is muted.
Like the entire wearable vertical, the device is a ‘maybe’ right now. Talking to people over a device using wi-fi or mobile signals isn’t ground breaking. Then again, neither is a watch. It’s all about what consumers want in this space.
What makes the device compelling is its features outside of basic push-to-talk. Being able to keep track of your fitness group on a run comes in handy. Taking your kids to a park? Slap these on them. You know where they are and can keep in touch.
OnBeep obviously put some thought and effort into the design. It’s designed to clip on your shirt, which presents a hosts of issue. For one, people don’t want their clothes messed up. Then there is a weight issue.
The last thing you want is the device tugging fabric down. For women, they don’t want it pulling their shirt down or causing it to open. Not exactly something you want to happen anywhere. To get around that, the team at OnBeep machined a device that weighs just 46 grams and is roughly the size of a stick of gum. Pretty damn impressive.
The next hurdle is price. You can preorder today at $99 for one device, and $195 for two. I’m curious to see how it would work hiking. How strong of a signal do you need etc? If the device can work a weak signal, then OnBeep potentially has their first niche on lock.