Dagadam Watch looks to Android Wear to save its smartwatch dream

For some startups, crowdfunding an idea you really believe in can be like venturing into the unknown. You just don’t know what kind of reception you’re going to get.

The Dagadam Watch, an ambitious smartwatch with a sleek circular design and a whole host of impressive features recently launched on Kickstarter. Within days of the campaign going live, the team decided to cancel the campaign making just shy of €30,000 in its quest to raise €450,000.

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We spoke to Mandu Dragos, chief product officer and director of Dagadam to give us a few more details on why it decided to pull the plug early, and why that doesn’t mean the end for the Dagadam Watch.

“We neglected the marketing,” Dragos explained. “That’s not okay because the marketing is a big part of launching a product. We’ve started talking to a crowdfunding marketing company so we will invest in marketing much more than we did before.

“We also want to develop a new colour for the watch, we’re calling the black edition. But the marketing was the main reason we wanted to cancel. We will relaunch.”

Some software issues

So Dagadam is having to go back to the drawing board on the marketing front but there’s other issues to address elsewhere, and the other one is pretty big. The team had initially wanted to deliver its own Android and iOS compatible operating system with an AI-powered element called Dagadam Hub that lets you draw up a feed of all things you want to see – messages, emails, social feeds etc. Think a bit like Pebble’s Timeline feature.

The operating system is only 60% finished, and it’s costing money to get it completed according to Dragos. “We will switch from our operating system to Android Wear probably or something else,” Dragos told us. “We hope Google think we are good enough to give us the license.

“We’re not abandoning the AI element either, but we will do it as a future project. We want to have the opportunity for the customer to choose, if we have the money to finishing the developing the operating system.”

The unfinished operating system means Dagadam hasn’t been able to test any of the big features it talked up in its campaign including using it as a VR controller or for crash alerts when flying a drone. Again, Dragos believes this is that this sort of functionality can be added to the smartwatch in the future.

Doubling down on design

One thing Dragos does have full confidence in is the Dagadam Watch design. It’s a circular smartwatch, which he believes is a more natural form for a watch. The aerospace inspired design has been patented as well.

“My father works in the aerospace industry so I’ve been around planes since I was little,” Dragos told us. “We wanted to use a material that was resistant but also light. This kind of aluminium is not pure aluminium.

“Some people told us ‘you look like a round Apple Watch’. It’s a great thing if people think of us like an Apple product. That’s a compliment to us. It means that we did a great job designing it. There were people who said we didn’t have the product. But we said, look at the campaign, we have it on the wrist.”

There’s also the unique touch sensor that aims to make scrolling the watch interface easier, but again this is another element that might need rethinking with the decision made to move away from its own operating system.

“We saw Samsung’s rotating bezel and the digital crown on the Apple Watch and we thought we needed something to scroll without covering the screen,” Dragos said. “It’s the first idea we came up with. If we use Android Wear, we will have to develop the functionality of the touch sensor because Wear doesn’t have one.”

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Dragos still has full confidence that the Dagadam Watch will happen despite some pretty big setbacks. If it’s pinning its hopes that Google will give its watch some Android Wear love it only has to look at the likes of the Com 1 or the Bluboo Xwatch to know that startups have failed in the past to persuade Google to play nice.

“We will prove the watch will still happen by posting updates when we can,” he said. “We will share images and videos so that people can see we will continue to work to develop a better product. We want to start a campaign with a finished product. We need money to get it into full production.”

Did you back the Dagadam Watch? What do you think of the new strategy? Let us know in the comments.