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CES 2015: Blocks is the Project Ara of the smartwatch world

You’ve doubtless heard of Project Ara, the modular smartphone concept whereby the user can build their own device like a Lego kit – well, we guess it was inevitable that this idea also came to the smartwatch arena.

And in actual fact, it’s being pushed forward by Phonebloks, the outfit which originally prototyped Project Ara before it was moved onwards to rest with Google.

The Blocks smartwatch, which is being shown off at CES currently, is a gadget to which you can add modules for whatever functionality you need, whether that’s for fitness, navigation, phone calls and so forth.

You can choose to have a rectangular or circular screen (or indeed an E-Ink display), customise the colours and textures of the watch, and add modules for a microphone, heart-rate monitor, blood oxygen monitor, gesture controls, GPS, fingerprint security, an audio jack, a flashlight, SIM card, kinetic charger, even extra battery modules.

There’s a ton of stuff on offer here, and according to Gizmodo the base module (with screen) will run to around $150 (£100), and extra modules will cost from $20 to $40 (£13 to £26).

The watch will be built on an open platform, on both the software and hardware front, so anyone can produce extra modules for Blocks. As for the OS, initially that will be a custom affair which supports both Android and iOS smartphones, with the makers considering introducing Android Wear in a future software release.

The crowdfunding campaign for Blocks will begin in the spring, with the device expected to ship before 2015 is out.