Will.i.am, famous as a singer with the group the Black Eyed Peas, has, according to The Los Angeles Times, announced the first of several new consumer electronics products he intends to bring to market. It will apparently be a hardware device that attaches to an iPhone and increases its resolution from an 8 megapixel camera to a 14 megapixel camera. The Telegraph confirms the report saying that in an interview with the star that he has several ideas in mind to bring better products to the consumer electronics arena.
These are not idle words, as the Telegraph points out – Will.i.am is currently a paid consultant (Director of Creative Innovation) to none other than computer chip maker Intel. He’s also been featured as a hologram on CNN, reporting on the US election of all things, one of his songs achieved a galactic first, being beamed to the rover currently investigating Mars, and back, and has been quoted widely discussing his ideas for new electronic devices. The first of which is his device that improves the resolution of the iPhone, he says, came while on a photo shoot with professional photographers users very large and expensive lenses they would attach to their cameras. Why not develop a smaller version that could attach to an iPhone to improve the images it could take? Why not indeed, he has been working with both camera makers and electronic equipment developers and has come up with a device he says will shake up the industry. He’s also worked out an agreement with Apple to sell the attachment under a development license and it will feature prominently in a music video still in the making in which he and Britney Spears star.
It’s all part of a project he calls first.i.am+, a nod to both his working name and the concept Google came up with to describe circles of friends. Will.i.am has not divulged what the next project will be, but its success will almost certainly hinge on not only how well his iPhone accessory sells, but how it’s received by both the media and the public.
The move by the music star into consumer electronics is unprecedented; stars tend to entertain and to lend their names to hardware only as advertising ventures. In this case, the music star is coming up with new ideas for electronic hardware, and then hiring others to make them come to pass for him, and as such, is positioning himself as a sort of visionary, akin to Steve Jobs. Whether it works out or not remains to be seen. Thus far though, its sounds like he knows what he’s doing.