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Razer’s proximity-sensing smartband goes on sale for $99

Razer, which is best known for making premium gaming accessories and laptops, garnered attention back in January when it announced the Nabu Smartband, a smart bracelet for the wrist. Starting Tuesday, the $99 device will finally go on sale.

Razer Nabu

There are two primary aspects that set the Nabu apart from other similar bands like Jawbone’s UP24 and Microsoft Band. First, the Nabu has two screens for notifications: one square 32 x 32 pixel display on the outside of the wrist and a larger 128 x 32 pixel screen on the inside.

The design largely gets around the issue some Microsoft Band wearers have faced where the device is most comfortable with the screen on the inside, causing ergonomic confusion for some.

Even with the two screens, the Nabu promises a seven-day battery life on a full charge. It can sync with iOS or recent Android phones that support Bluetooth Low Energy.

Second, Nabu isn’t exclusively geared towards activity tracking and fitness, although it will sync with iOS Health. While it has an accelerometer and an altimeter — which will allow it to measure steps and activity — its most interesting features are what [company]Razer[/company] is calling “band-to-band” capabilities. For instance, if two people with Razer Nabu bands shake hands, users can set it up so that contact details are swapped as well. Razer calls the protocol that enables those kind of proximity features “Pulse.”

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Developer versions of the Razer Nabu have been available since January. Razer has an SDK and wants developers to create apps for this nacent hardware platform. But Razer doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to encouraging third-party developers — its innovative SwitchBlade keyboard, which features programmable OLED keys, doesn’t exactly have a particularly engaged developer community, two years after its initial launch.

The developer kit for the Nabu costs $50, which is half the price of the consumer version, which suggests the price could actually come down farther in the future.

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