Home / Technology / Google and Samsonite’s smart backpack is a better use of Jacquard

Google and Samsonite’s smart backpack is a better use of Jacquard

Unlike the YSL backpack, where the threads blend into the strap, the white stripes of the Samsonite version contrast with the black background. This visual cue is useful because I don’t have to feel the touch-sensitive area. The rippled texture also helps distinguish them from the rest of the strap.

To connect the backpack to your phone, you’ll need to insert a thumb-sized dongle into the strap, just like you would a jacket. Although it was slightly bulky on the sleeve cuff, this module sits discreetly near the bottom of the backpack strap. The module syncs with your phone via Bluetooth and, via the Jacquard app, you can define what the brushing up and down or double tapping on the strap should do.

There are no new tools available on the Jacquard platform ̵

1; you can still just do things like skip or pause your music, ask the assistant a question, or insert placeholders to remember places you’ve been. I set a swipe up to go back one song on my playlist, swipe down to skip to the next track and double tap to take a selfie. I also chose to have the dongle’s LED light green when a message or call arrives and blue for Uber notifications.

Samsonite Konnect-i backpack with practical Google Jacquard

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

While I am disappointed with the lack of new features, I was impressed with how responsive the Konnect-i was compared to the jacket. When I got a message, the band vibrated to alert me before my phone even showed an alert. By brushing up on the fibers, Assistant read the content to me, although strangely he omitted the sender’s name.

Likewise, swiping up or down to control my music was quick and pairing Konnect-i with my phone was a breeze. I also liked that when I double-tapped to take a selfie, not only did my phone quickly lift the camera in the Jacquard app and start a 3-second countdown, but the backpack vibrated in tandem. Perhaps because it is on my shoulder and chest instead of my wrist, the vibration of the dongle felt stronger and more noticeable than on the jacket.

Also I find Jacquard implementation better here. For one thing, I’m much less likely to throw a backpack in the washing machine (sometimes I do, okay?) And ruin the hardware if I forget to remove it. Backpacks are also slightly more versatile than jackets – whether it’s 100 degrees or 10, you can always carry a backpack. One thing the jacket does best, however, is that when the module’s LED lights up a specific color, it’s easier to see on the sleeve than the backpack strap.

Despite all the improvements and benefits that Konnect-i offers, I’m not sure there’s a great value proposition here. This could be useful when you go shopping, on a bike, or while walking your dog. But a $ 200 smartwatch can do all of the same things and more. It would be more useful if Jacquard offered more abilities, especially since it’s easier to interact with the backpack strap than the tiny face of a wearable. As things stand, however, the Konnect-i is a niche product that will only appeal to a limited audience.

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