Razer: 20,000 Developers Working On Nabu Wearable Apps

by Mike Futter on May 28, 2014 at 07:25 AM

Razer, a company best known for its gaming mice and keyboards, has been branching out in recent years. From its Razer Blade laptops to Edge portable gaming devices to the upcoming Nabu wearable, the company has moved beyond peripherals.

The company’s latest project, Comms, has it competing with Skype, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, and other voice over IP (VOIP) services. Comms is a gaming-focused communication platform that is currently available on PC, Mac, and Android (iOS is coming soon) that offers text-based messaging as well as voice calling. 

According to Razer, the beta version of Comms has over 1 million users since becoming available in January 2014. Razer says it has caught on partly because of a feature that allows League of Legends players to automatically get placed in a voice channel with others using the software. The idea is to make it easy for teams of random players to communicate via voice since League requires strategic coordination. 

Comms will also be integrated into some major game releases, though CEO and creative director Min-Liang Tan wasn’t able to reveal which ones. Razer will be handling the communications backbone for those titles, allowing developers to offload that management with what is, essentially, a pre-packaged solution. 

Tan tells us that a large team is working on this project. That group is also working with the team developing Razer’s wearable bracelet, the Nabu (for more on that, check out our impressions from CES).

Tan says that Nabu, with its two screens and social media integration, will go beyond functioning as a peer-to-peer communications device. “Nabu is designed to work in the background. So we’re thinking of all kinds of cool stuff,” he says. “For example, Nabu can tell the servers that you’re almost home and then developers can serve up a time-sensitive raid. What we’re doing is providing a new avenue for developers and publishers to bridge what happens in-game and and out-of-game.”

He also tells us that Nabu can be used as a friend finder. If you and a friend you know through social media happen to be in the same place, you’ll get an alert. Approximately 20,000 pre-screened developers are working on applications for Nabu, and beta users will be receiving units shortly for broader real-world testing. Final launch will take place shortly after.

To join the Comms beta test, you can visit Razer’s website and download the software. For more on Nabu, check out our impressions from CES.