Samsonite’s Google-powered smart backpack has a touch-gesture strap


The Samsonite Konnect-i can Bluetooth-connect with a Google phone app to control music and Google Assistant.


Samsonite’s new smart backpack can connect to your phone and control music and Google Assistant remotely. In a year where many people aren’t commuting or traveling much, it’s a weirdly timed product. But the Konnect-i looks like a well-made but expensive Google-powered backpack ($200 or $220 for the slim or full-sized versions).

Google’s Jacquard tech, which weaves touch-enabled controls into fabric, emerged on a Levi’s jacket and an Yves Saint Laurent backpack last year. The tech works by having a small Micro-USB-charged Bluetooth puck slot into one of the backpack’s straps. Above that, a touch-control area responds to swipe gestures, which can be programmed to bring up particular Google Assistant commands. The strap also lights up with an LED to show notifications, and could be used as a selfie remote. The Jacquard Tag module that snaps in has a battery life of between 10 days and two weeks on a charge. The bag’s designed to be water resistant, but I don’t know how a downpour would affect the bag’s on-strap Jacquard tech in practice.

For people with smartwatches, a connected backpack might not make any sense. And it looks like the cost of the backpack is considerably more expensive than other Samsonite backpacks on its website. I’ve looked at the bag up close, and it seems like a really nice laptop backpack. But also, I work from home now, and haven’t flown since January. Still, it’s a more affordable option than the YSL backpack from last year. Google’s connected Jacquard tech looks like it’s still popping in connected products this year, too. But I’m still a little disappointed that the tech isn’t more than a simplified remote for your phone.

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