While the world still waits for Apple to claim its stake in the smartwatch field, Sony is rolling out its second edition, the SmartWatch 2. The device serves as a second screen for an Android smartphone and serves as a multi-function watch, notifier, Android app interface and phone remote control. Sony cites app expandability and personalization as a key differentiator.
In brief, SmartWatch 2 lets you handle your calls by a touch of your wrist, take a photo remotely from your SmartWatch, using a smart camera app, and control your presentations remotely using Presentation Pal. If you are taking a run or riding a bike, you can select a mapping app to check your route with a quick glance at your wrist.
You can also read previously downloaded e-mails when not connected to your phone or use lifestyle apps like Runtastic to map and instantly track your fitness activities on the go. Finally, the wearable device lets you adjust the tracks and volume on your music player, without ever taking your phone from your pocket.
Sony's Third Try
In its announcement, Sony boasted that it's the leader in the smartwatch segment since it introduced its first product in 2007. Of course, that product hardly took off. And even new devices are not guaranteed success. Nevertheless, Sony is bullish on its third generation smartwatch.
"The future of wearable devices is incredibly bright with analyst research predicting 41 million 'smart' watches will be sold by 2016," says Stefan K. Persson, head of Companion Products at Sony Mobile Communications. "We have over 200 unique apps dedicated for Sony SmartWatch with over one million downloads to date and we are continuing to work with our strong developer network to deliver ever more compelling smartwatch experiences."
SmartWatch 2 offers Near Field Communications (NFC) connectivity for one-touch pairing, and a range of technologies including higher resolution, better visibility even in sunlight, longer battery stamina, more intuitive interface, and standalone watch functionality.
Voice Commands Needed
But Roger Entner, a wireless analyst at Recon Analytics, isn't convinced the market is quite ready for smartwatches, at least not in their current form. He told us device makers can't approach smartwatches the same way they approach smartphones.
"If you do a smartwatch you have to do it like a voice-centric device with voice recognition. Then it might be able to work. A stamp-sized screen with fonts that we can't read doesn't work well. Even if we can read it we only get two words on the screen? It's not going to happen," Entner said.
"Let's step back and think about this. Do you have small enough fingers to push icons on a smartwatch? Or does it come with a stylus? And since the phone is so small is it a foldable stylus? To make a smartwatch work you have to rethink the problem. You can't just make it smaller and hotter."