Neptune is trying to turn how people interact with their devices on its head. Instead building a smartwatch that connects to a smartphone to work; it is instead making the Suite, a wearable that will power the functions of a smartphone, tablet, and even a desktop monitor.
There is a strange sort of logic that goes into the Neptune Suite. In a sense, it is trying to make wearables the centre of our mobile gadget eco-system; and builds on the idea that everything else is simply a peripheral to that one device. The Neptune Hub is a chunky smartwatch with a 2.4-inch display that tries to cram smartphone internals into the form factor. This results in a smartwatch that looks more like a bracelet than a conventional wearable.
Inside is a quad-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz, 64GB of storage, and even support for a LTE connection. There is a slot for a nano-SIM card, which is where the smartwatch will get its connection from. Essentially, this will be an Android 5.0 smartphone wrapped around the users’ arm. Which is interestingly different from the usual smartwatch that needs to be paired with a smartphone of some sort. Sadly, it looks like the main sacrifice for the small size was the battery. At 1,000mAh it is difficult to see how it will last a whole day.
Connecting to the Neptune Hub is a series of peripherals that would traditionally be standalone devices. There is a smartphone like gizmo called the Pocket Screen, which is intended to work like an Android smartphone. It has a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen and two cameras (one facing the front and the other the rear), and is the main interface for the Nepture Hub smartwatch. The “phone” itself has minimal electronics, and can only function when paired with the Hub. It does, however, have a 2,800mAh battery inside.
Similar to the Pocket Screen, the Tab Screen is an interface display that mimics a tablet. The 10-inch form contains a single front facing camera and a 7,000mAh battery. It is meant to dock with the Neptune Keys, which is a keyboard dock made specially for the Tab Screen. Essentially allowing users to also mimic a laptop configuration.
Finally, two actual peripherals round out the Neptune Suite. The Neptune Dongle is a HDMI dongle that allows the Hub display to be streamed to any monitor or TV, while the Neptune Headset is an interesting pair of wireless headphones. The Neptune Headset also doubles as a charging cable for the Hub, and is capable of drawing power from the Pocket and Tab Screens as well (turning to two displays into battery packs as well).
Neptune is currently attempting to fund the entire project over Indiegogo and had originally aimed for a US$100,000 goal. It has already collected eight times that much in pledges, and still has 28 days to go before the campaign ends.
As an idea, the Neptune Suite looks very interesting. On the other hand, it is uncertain that people would want to lock themselves into such a limited eco-system of gadgets. The convenience of having three or four gadgets at the same time at the expense of choice is questionable, although it is difficult to argue with the number of people contributing to the Indiegogo campaign. Overall, at least someone is trying something different for a change.