Among gamers, Razer has become a household name for cutting-edge entertainment gear – from mice and keyboards to gaming tablets and laptops like the new Razer Blade that CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan is presenting here.
And if the big PC makers were a little more nimble on their toes, this amped-up, slimmed down Windows laptop should never even have come to market, Tan told me in an interview for Ubergizmo.com. Competitors like Dell and HP have “so much more resources than us”, he argues, that they should have identified the highly profitable gaming niche themselves, never allowing Razer to grow into a cult brand with an estimated revenue of $250 million last year. “A company like ours should not, in three years, suddenly [enter the laptop market] and have the best product in the world”, Tan says. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Now Razer is slated to leave its niche and enter the highly competitive wearables market: with its Nabu wristband, the company claims to offer a new kind of wearable – a “smartband that understands you by being with you.” While most digital armbands, such as the Fitbit Flex and the Jawbone UP, have so far been limited to relatively basic activity tracking, Razer aims to go several steps further. In addition to counting calories and monitoring your sleep, the Nabu can show incoming phone calls and text messages on a built-in display, as well as connect you with other Nabu fans nearby. Exchanging contact information is as simple as a quick handshake.
When the Nabu premiered at the CES in January, Razer suggested that its über gizmo would be available by the end of the first quarter. But the company has a history of pushing release dates – and sure enough, by mid-May the new smartband is still nowhere in sight. How come? “Sometimes, if we see any of the smallest issues with a product, we will pull it”, Tan told me, explaining his (and his company’s) obsession with perfection. “So even a minute before launch I don’t know if it’s going to go up, because if any of us see anything that we’re unhappy with, somebody will say, ‘Hey, this is not good enough,’ and we can pull it.”
You can find the full Q&A with Min-Liang Tan at Ubergizmo.com – and the Nabu, if all goes well, in stores sometime soon.