Rufus Labs Wants to Replace Smartphones – and Might

By Tom Allen
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The Rufus Cuff, from Rufus Labs, was funded on Indiegogo last year, and is almost ready to start shipping. Set to reach customers early next year, the wearable is designed to be the first item of wristwear that can actually replace a smartphone.

The Rufus Cuff next to an Apple Watch. Image credit: USA TodayMeasuring a forearm-filling 3.2″, the Cuff can be used to email, text, game, browse the web, play music, make calls (voice or video) and even watch films. Calls are IP-only, as there’s no SIM card slot, but there is a full Android app store to play with. The product is compatible with iOS or Android.

Like other wearables, the Rufus Cuff also works as a fitness tracker, with GPS, an accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. The idea of anyone running with it isn’t absurd, either – people often go jogging with a phone strapped to their arm.

The reason that the Cuff is so large is for the internal specifications. According to USA Today, which interviewed Rufus Labs CEO Gabe Grifoni, the size means that batteries and processors can take up more space, and thus be more powerful. It has an ARM Cortex A9 processor (from Texas Instruments), runs Android 4.x (KitKat) and has a 1,175mAh battery. Storage is between 16GB and 64GB.

So far, more than 2,500 people have paid in excess of $750,000 to own a Rufus Cuff – most of them young men, between the ages of 18 and 30. Prices range from $250 to $400.