Sony’s making another go at the smartwatch market, but so far, the effort looks like it’s merely an incremental upgrade over its attempt last year.
The electronics giant announced the SmartWatch 2 today, which sports a bigger touchscreen than the original model (1.6 inches versus 1.3 inches) as well as new features like water resistance and NFC (for easy phone pairing). Just like Sony’s first SmartWatch, the new version also does things like answer calls and read e-mail. It’s powered by Android, which unfortunately means it’s only compatible with other Android devices.
While we don’t have any pricing or availability details to go on yet, at this point the SmartWatch 2 looks like the sort of polished-yet-average device that Sony has become known for in recent years. It’ll likely be enticing to some consumers — especially those wowed by the company’s slick Android handsets — but it doesn’t look like something that will finally push smartwatches to the mainstream.
We’ll be exploring the role of wearable computing in the mobile industry at our upcoming MobileBeat conference.
Sony also announced its gigantic new phablet, the 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra, this morning.
It almost feels like Sony is just waiting to see what Apple comes up with for its rumored iWatch rather than innovating on its own. Samsung recently hinted that it’s working on a smartwatch as well, and there’s also word that Google’s Android unit is tackling the category. There’s clearly a lot of interest in these, especially with the success of Pebble’s smartwatch, but so far we’re still left waiting for a breakout device.