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LYCOS to launch a line of wearables including wristbands and rings


LYCOS is launching LYCOS Life, a line of wearable devices that include a smart wristband and a finger ring. The devices, which will be launched in the US today and in India next week, are priced at $124,99 for the wristband and $59.99 for the ring.

The wristband, named The Band, features a fitness monitor, a personal security manager and something called ‘Tap2Transfer capabilities’. LYCOS claims the device can track a user’s steps, calories burned, speed, sleep and heart rate. The personal security manager on the device lets users log in into their phones and apps without needing to use a password. The Tap2Transfer capability lets users share numbers, business cards, or directions to a specific place, although it’s not clear which technology is used to do this (bluetooth, NFC etc).

The other device, the Life Ring, has the same features although it does not include the fitness monitor. As of now LYCOS has not disclosed the technical specifications of either of these devices so its not clear how large the battery is or how capable the devices actually are. Interestingly, the company mentions the devices will soon be able to uniquely identify its wearer depending on how they move.

Its own OS? 

Note that LYCOS has refrained from disclosing the OS these devices are running, which makes us think it will be a self-developed operating system, rather than the ubiquitous Android OS. In this case, it will be interesting to see how to company intends to develop an ecosystem and encourage developers to create apps for its platform.

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LYCOS mentions that five percent of sales made through its Life initiative, will go towards its non profit organization, that aims to provide IoT devices for social causes. This includes initiatives like giving families small portable sensors for free, that can test the quality of water and air in their homes.

Patent sale: Last month, Lycos Internet put up for sale a number of patents it holds across segments like search engine technology, online advertising and online gaming among others.  The company said that the decision to focus on its IP portfolio was not an attempt to gain entitlement for IP external innovation, but essentially to create a more collaborative relationship with partners and the industry. It also mentioned then that it was readying to launch a suite of hard good products in the coming weeks.

Financials: Lycos reported an overall net profit after tax of Rs 77.33 crores for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, a decrease of 21.77% QoQ and an increase of 120.06% YoY. The platform reporte digital marketing revenues of Rs 315.18 crore,  registering a significant decrease of 36.08% from Rs 493.09 crore last quarter, although registering an increase of 5.84% percent year-on-year (YoY) from 297.80 crore the same quarter last year.

Other wearables:

– Two sets of watches running Google’s Android Wear platform were launched in June last year. Namely, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, which were priced at Rs 14,999 and Rs 15,900 respectively.

– Apple had launched its Apple Watch in September last year. The device came in three different types: Apple Watch, that features a stainless steel case and a choice of straps, Apple Watch Sport, that features space gray or silver anodized aluminum case and a sport band and the Apple Watch Edition that features a 18-karat rose or yellow gold case with a choice of straps.

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– Xiaomi had launched the Mi Band, a fitness tracker with 30-day battery life and IP-67 certification. The band cost $15 and featured a proximity unlocker for Xiaomi smartphones.

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