After an agonizing wait, Nymi Inc. will begin shipping in volume a developer-centric version of its authentication-focused Nymi Band on December 15th.
The company, which has rebranded from Bionym, is targeting its first batch of the Band to developers in a so-called “Nymi Band Discovery Kit,” which features the final hardware of the Band itself, along with requisite applications for mobile and Windows. A limited edition coloured Band was shipped in small quantities in October.
Nymi Band purports to be the authentication hub for a multitude of applications, from secure smartphone unlocking to mobile payments and more. HeartID, the technology behind Nymi, uses a person’s ECG — or persistent heart rate — to identify the owner of a connected device. As long as the person is wearing the Nymi band, it functions as a biometric authenticator.
Until December 31st, the Nymi Band will be sold to developers for $79 USD, increasing to $149 on January 1st. The company hopes to build a sustainable and profitable developer community with its extended lead time before public consumer release, expected in early 2015. This is a familiar refrain, and one that platform creators like Apple have been doing for years — releasing early software builds for developers to ensure a mature user experience by the time regular people begin employing them. For something as unique and extensible as the Nymi Band, such an extended preamble was even more relevant.
The Nymi Band was announced in mid-2013 back when wearables were only beginning to show real-world potential. The promise of persistent authentication was heralded as a solution to many daily real-world problems, like replacements for cumbersome corporate FOBs or door locks all the way to authentication for mobile payments. Its look has changed over the past year, as has the number of developers interested in it, but the certainty of Nymi’s success has never wavered.