Upstarts like Pebble aside, Samsung and Sony are duking it out in the war for wrist-worn dominance. Sony had a head start with its SmartWatch 2 last year, but Samsung came out firing at this year's Mobile World Congress, debuting three new Galaxy Gear smartwatches. Sony has its own plans for the future though, and we got a closer look at the wearables the company is showing off at MWC.
Did you know Sony debuted the first smartwatch back in 2006? Apparently so, with a Bluetooth-enabled watch that delivered notifications to your wrist, before most people even had a smartphone. Now, eight years later, Sony wants to talk about its new vision: Smart Wear.
Smart Wear encompasses smartwatches, activity trackers, and anything and everything that helps users log their lives. The SmartBand SWR10 is the first step towards the total quantified self – it's an activity tracker, sleep tracker, and life-logging companion. The SmartBand looks more or less like every other silicon wristband activity tracker, but instead of just physical activity, Sony wants users to log their social activity and any other events in their lives.
It connects with Sony's wide-ranging entertainment assets, including the PlayStation, which Sony thinks sets it apart from the competition. You keep track of your gaming achievements alongside your exercise achievements. A single physical button lets you create "life bookmarks" that aggregate pictures, social media updates, location, and any media playback, giving you a comprehensive snapshot of your digital life. It works with Sony's LifeLog Android app, and Sony says to expect wider Android compatibility down the line.
The SmartBand will retail for around €99 (£81), with swappable wristbands going for €25 (£20).
Sony also showed off a life-logging camera concept. Sleek and discrete, the camera looked like a fashion-friendly pendant that could do the work for you, snapping away pics at set intervals. We've seen products like this before, but Sony thinks its array of life-logging devices and single-quantified hub can bring it all together under one umbrella.
With smartphones and tablets already dominating so much of our time, how many wearables is too many wearables? Sony is leaving that up to you to decide. But if you're hungry for a unified way to keep a digital archive of your life, Sony might just have an answer for you.
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