Razer strips down the fitness band for budgets

Exercise bands are a big deal these days — hey, we’re even testing new ones as this was being written — but they’re not always inexpensive, and that’s something gaming company Razer wants to talk about.

Last year at CES, Razer started talking about a new accessory that didn’t quite mesh with its typically gamer-focused products. It was to be a smart band, and it was one of the first, because while many in the fitness gadget world were building fitness specific bands like the Jawbone Up, Razer’s was to bring the world of your smartphone to your wrist in something that wasn’t quite a watch, but was easy to keep with you.

Called the Nabu, the Razer smart band was a small piece of plastic, rubber, and an OLED screen that told you who was calling, what message you had just received, and then that burst of fitness information you’ve come to expect from the activity trackers, such as steps taken, hours slept, distance travelled, and how high you would have climbed.

Razer's Nabu X from CES 2014

It would also be splash-proof, water-resistant, and survive for a week, working for iOS and Android, with the idea being an open platform with developers able to make programs for the band.

But while we expected release shortly after the announcement, Razer’s Nabu kind of faded away, and never really saw a shelf in 2014, becoming a product that never was.

Fortunately, Razer is still thinking about the Nabu; it’s just re-engineering elements of it.

This year at CES, Razer has announced a new Nabu, the Nabu X, a stripped down smart band made for people keen to see what the fuss is about and start with an entry level band.

“The greatest barriers to entry for new technology are price and complexity, and we’ve eliminated both of those with the Razer Nabu X,” says Min-Liang Tan, Co-founder and CEO of Razer.

“We’ve taken what makes the Nabu such a compelling wearable – discreet notifications, activity tracking and band-to-band communication – and incorporated them into the Nabu X. It’s the basic alternative to the Nabu that’s extremely affordable and simple to use.”

Razer’s Nabu X looks to be very budget friendly, with an expected retail price of $50 in the US, and an “insider” price of $20 when it first launches.

To reach that price, the OLED screen will be removed, replaced with three basic LED indicators, which will be used to tell you when you’re in different modes, as well as a vibrating motor for alerts.

Sensors will be included for tracking activities, and just like the Nabu, it will talk to phones for notifications, though we’re not sure how this will work beyond vibrating when you have a call coming in.

Worldwide, Razer is expecting a release date in the next few months, sometime before June or July, but online availability should be within the next few weeks, so if you’re keen, you’ll find it there first.