After the disappointing LiveView failed to make much of an impression when it launched in 2010, Sony surprised us when they revealed yet another wearable device — the SmartWatch — at this year’s CES. After taking a brief spin in the U.K., Sony has just announced that their newest diminutive wrist-mounted gadget is now available here in the States for $149.
Like the LiveView before it, the SmartWatch is essentially just a small secondary display that can connect to any Bluetooth-enabled Android device running Android 2.1 or later once the corresponding app has been installed. Thankfully, Sony saw fit to include a full multi-touch display this time around instead of the awkward edge-only navigation scheme seen in the SmartWatch’s forebear.
The question then is, well, what do you do with the thing? Aside from using it to tell time, users can read full length emails and text messages on the 1.3-inch OLED display, as well as control the music playing on the phone. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg too — Sony released the SDK for the SmartWatch platform right when this year’s CES was getting into full swing, and I’m told that there are nearly 60 mini apps waiting in the Google Play store for all you fans of wearable computing to play with.
Some of them already seem like must-haves — I would use the hell out of this Find Phone app when my Galaxy Nexus inevitably goes missing around the house, and quick access to the Endomondo app could save me a fair bit of hassle on my runs.
Plenty of people have picked up the concept and run with it in recent months — Motorola comes to mind, as do the WIMM folks, and this particularly handsome Kickstarter project. Sony definitely seems to be gunning for the masses with the SmartWatch’s relatively inexpensive price tag and its slew of eye-catching wristbands ($20 each, in case you were curious), and it’s definitely worth a second look if you feel like the hassle of digging your phone out of your pocket is just too of a hassle.