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Warren Buffett Enters Wearable Tech Industry, Invests In Smart Jewelry

By Edge Ison , Feb 11, 2017 04:05 AM EST
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Warren Buffett is cashing in on the popularity of wearable tech. The business magnate, who is known for being cautious when it comes to investing in technology, is embracing the wearable tech hype with a line of smart jewelry that will be produced by Richline Group, a jewelry subsidiary under his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate.

The smart jewelry line, called Ela, will be unveiled this spring. The first offering is smart wristwear that will be unlike any of the wearables consumers are familiar with. According to ZDNet, the Ela line will initially consist of smart bracelets, with smart rings and earrings following sometime in the near future. Like popular smartwatches such as the Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear, the Ela smart wearables will connect to smartphones and share activity data with apps such as HealthKit and Google Fit.

There is little known about which activity sensors will be built into the Ela smart jewelry products, but according to the report, the devices will receive smartphone notifications, with gems lighting up in different colors depending on the type of alert being received. The focus on aesthetic sets the Ela wearables apart from the typical utilitarian smartwatch, but Richline Group product innovation manager Cliff Ulrich said that their wearable tech will be more than just "prettier step trackers."

"Jewelry is a lot about sharing special moments," Ulrich told the outlet. "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."

Buffett's investment in wearable tech is surprising given that the wearable tech sector didn't do all that well in 2016. But Buffett isn't called the Oracle of Omaha for nothing. The man surely knows what he's doing, which can only mean that the wearable tech industry may not be as lackluster as some think.

In an interview with CNBC, Buffett explained his decision to invest in a smart jewelry line. "Jewelry is a centuries-old business that isn't going anywhere, so it's a safe bet," the billionaire said. "With the addition of technology, we're simply updating something everyone knows and loves to better fit our modern age."

The Ela jewelry line is expected to launch sometime in the spring. Products in silver, gold, and stainless steel will reportedly be priced between $195 and $295.

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