The Design Evolution of inPulse’s “Blackberry Watch”

1. In mid-2008, Eric Migicovsky, then 22 and the one-time owner of a calculator watch (“It’s a very cool ’80s thing,” he says), wanted to be able to check email while riding his bike without killing himself. Rising smartphone sales and advancements in lithium-ion batteries convinced him that “the time was right for a smartwatch.”

2. Smartwatches have been a nerd dream since Dick Tracy, but they’ve always been too pricey (e.g., Microsoft’s SPOT). Migicovsky opted to create a smartphone accessory that would sync via Bluetooth and let users receive content without paying extra.


4. Even when Migicovsky’s idea was just a hacked circuit board, he showed developers at RIM. Encouraged, his team fashioned a 3-D model with a bulky metal strap, thinking it would “look cool on your wrist,” he says. It was later scrapped because “we worried it would tweak arm hair.”
3. Early sketches borrowed elements from popular phones: a black shell with a metallic finish, like the BlackBerry Bold, and a center screen with a single button, like the iPhone. “We wanted it to appear in the same design vein,” he says.


5. As the design evolved, Migicovsky opted for a vertical display because the original was “too reminiscent of Leela’s arm computer on Futurama.”

7. The first inPulse ($149, in stores this month) works exclusively with BlackBerries. Migicovsky hopes to announce more partnerships later this year.

6. Migicovsky’s team called the final look “Blue Steel,” after Ben Stiller’s signature pose in Zoolander. Its market name, inPulse, is a mashup of “information” and “pulse,” as in where the watch sits.