Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway bets on wearables

Richline Brands is preparing to jump into wearables with a connected jewelry line. The company, which was acquired in 2007 by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, is looking at a Spring launch of its first wearable collection called Ela.

We don’t have full details yet, but according to Urban Wearables there will be several design pieces to choose from. This includes: Ela Connect, which features either a square or a round gemstone and comes with a variety of leather bracelets; Ela Bangle, which sports double-wrap bangles displayed in a gold and rose gold finish along with a smart gemstone; and Ela Momento which looks like a smart pearl.

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In terms of fitness tracking, the wearables will count steps and sync to both Apple Health and Google Health Kit. There are some notification features as well. The gem on the device will inform you of incoming calls by softly glowing and vibrating, plus you will be able to customise the device to glow a certain color for specific contacts. Finally, the Ela iOS or Android app will allow you to upload photos such as special songs or voice recordings to store as “memories”.

“Jewelry is a lot about sharing special moments,” Cliff Ulrich, product innovation manager for the Richline Group, explained to ZDNet.

“We wanted to create the modern day locket and allow people to store memories in their jewelry… If someone wants all the features in the world, they’ll get a smartwatch. But we tried to create a much more emotional connection with a product, rather than being purely about the functionality.”

CNBC spoke to Warren Buffet who has notably been cautious about tech stocks in the past.

“Jewelry is a centuries-old business that isn’t going anywhere, so it’s a safe bet,” he told CNBC in an emailed statement.

“With the addition of technology, we’re simply updating something everyone knows and loves to better fit our modern age.”

The bracelets will cost between $195 and $295, depending on the design and the value of the materials. The connected jewelry line launches in April.

Sources: ZDNet, Urban Wearables

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