The smart ring hasn’t caught on as much as the smartwatch, but there are still a few companies out there trying to make them happen. One of them is ZTE, which had their iCharming smart ring on display at Mobile World Congress. It’s not too much different from other smart rings we’ve seen, but there is one feature in particular we think could be a huge help to anyone in distress — an SOS gesture that can mark your location and alert a trusted contact when performed.
The iCharming Ring first debuted at MWC Shanghai last year, but hasn’t gotten a lot of publicity in the West. It’s by no means subtle, though — the centerpiece is a huge Zirkon crystal that comes in one of six colors (gold, chocolate, purple, red, blue, or indigo), while the ring itself is made from hand-polished 925 sterling silver.
Beneath the crystal are all the smarts, which mostly come in the form of sensors for basic fitness tracking. The iCharming ring will be able to track steps taken and distance traveled, but not much else. There’s also a Bluetooth module in there, which will make the ring flash whenever you get a notification on a connected phone (Android or iOS). Bluetooth connectivity also makes the ring a handy lost and found tracker, giving you a flash and a buzz if you get out of range of your smartphone. The battery is supposed to last one week on a full charge.
Pretty standard stuff, but we really like what ZTE has done with gesture control. Hand gestures can be used to make the ring accept calls or act as a camera shutter, but the SOS gesture is the really compelling feature here. Wearers can use an app to designate a trusted contact in case of emergency. In case of crisis, the wearer can use the SOS gesture, which will log that person’s current location and send it as an alert to that contact. Anyone worried about the safety of walking the streets at night could find this feature pretty useful.
Currently, the ZTE iCharming Ring is on Amazon for $350, with a list price of $488. That said, we don’t think the ring has gotten a proper release in the West, and we don’t think the price should be that high.