Neither of Sony’s two previous smartwatches were runaway hits, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped the Japanese electronics giant from taking another crack at the concept. A slew of tweets hash-tagged #itstime started appearing on the official SonyXperia account the other day, and they hinted heavily that the company is preparing to show off yet another smartwatch at the Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai next week.
Sony seems content to keep all the juicy details under wraps for now, but it’s holding press conferences in Shanghai and Germany next Tuesday so all will be revealed in short order. Of course, if Sony really does bring another smartwatch to market, will it actually sell? Sony hasn’t exactly had the best luck pushing its Xperia smartphones (though the flagship Xperia Z seems to be doing pretty well), so pushing yet another smartphone-centric accessory into the field may prove problematic.
To Sony’s credit, it looks like the company is even more cognizant of the developer community than before — as they should, since apps crafted for the wrist-worn gadget will really determine whether people take the plunge. Sony’s second smartwatch (called, unimaginatively, the SmartWatch) was eventually augmented by some 200 custom applications in the Google Play Store, and Sony recently sought to make the thing even more useful by letting developers cook up their own firmware for it.
Still, I can’t help but wonder if Sony would’ve taken another chance on a smartwatch if it weren’t for some popular, buzzy startups. The meteoric rise of the Pebble and the wrist-worn gadgets that appeared in its wake signaled a resurgence and popularization of a concept that’s been kicking around with varying degrees of success for years. Subsequent (and persistent) rumors that Apple, Samsung, and even Google are eagerly eyeing up the smartwatch market may have only added fuel to Sony’s competitive fire. The company been churning these things out for the better part of 6 years now — hopefully this time they’ve got enough experience under their collective belts to really crack the formula.