will.i.am in Israel pushing smartwatch
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will.i.am in Israel pushing smartwatch

Black Eyed Peas singer gathers start-up reps and fellow entrepreneurs at Tel Aviv port to introduce his latest device

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

will.i.am speaking to angel investors and Israeli startups at the Tel Aviv port (photo credit: Dan Atzmon)
will.i.am speaking to angel investors and Israeli startups at the Tel Aviv port (photo credit: Dan Atzmon)

Black Eyed Peas singer/songwriter will.i.am is in Israel, but he won’t be performing.

The musician, whose full name is William Adams, was here to introduce his latest device, a smartwatch, to a group of Israeli start-ups and angel investors.

Adams, one of the founding members of Grammy-winning hip hop/pop group the Black Eyed Peas, invested his own funds in the device, which is now in the testing stages.

Samsung, Sony and Motorola have all released smartwatches, but each has a flat screen. Will.i.am’s features a rounded, traditional wristwatch face. Apple and Google have yet to release something similar.

The entrepreneurial musician told the small group of local investors and technology start-ups that he sees the smartwatch as a natural marriage of content providers and sophisticated hardware.

He said he wanted to find different means for sharing content, including music, with his listeners, and hopes the smartwatch will help him do that. “We want to rethink everything,” he said. “How we get data back to people, how we create a different kind of ecosystem.”

“He’s seeking developers to write apps for his device,” said Dan Atzmon, the VP of marketing at KitLocate, who was at the gathering. “He’s a serious entrepreneur.”

KitLocate.com provides technology that enables location services for apps all the time without draining the phone battery, Atzmon said. Atzmon said he was invited to meet the celebrity investor, who seemed to “like what he saw,” he said.

will.i.am said he has been involved in technology innovation since 2004, when the Black Eyed Peas first began selling their albums on iTunes.

In 2011, Intel Corp. named him director of creative innovation, with responsibility to provide input in developing smartphones, tablets and laptops. A year later, he had a song transmitted from the surface of Mars in conjunction with Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. He has also said he is developing his own car company, and has designed clothing.

The musician said he sees the smartwatch as a different kind of product, not just a watch.

“It’s more watching me than I’m watching it,” he said. “It’s a wear.”

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