Sony isn’t going to be one of Android Wear’s OEM partners, at least not in the foreseeable future. The company’s head of U.S. mobile operations Ravi Nookala told CNET in an interview that it will forge ahead with the Android-based OS that powers its SmartWatch and SmartWatch 2 wearables for the time being, rather than jumping ship to Android Wear, Google’s new platform.
Android Wear has already been revealed as powering the smartwatch efforts of two major Android OEMs, Motorola and LG, and others including Samsung are also listed as partners. But Sony was conspicuously absent from that list, and now CNET’s information provides a look at why. Sony’s Nookala suggested to the site that given the company’s investment in its own platform, it wants to continue focusing on that track rather than trying something new.
This move means Sony doesn’t have to spurn development partners who’ve already spent time and effort on the SmartWatch SDK, and based on early information, it also looks like Sony’s Android smartwatch OS might actually offer a bit more autonomy than Android Wear, which so far is mostly about displaying notifications from smartphone applications, and less about running standalone software.
Early indicators don’t suggest Sony is selling tons of its SmartWatches; a report that put total smartwatch sales at just under two million for all of 2013 lumped them into an “other” category that included the Pebble, which it was revealed recently sold around 400,000 units in its first year of availability. That means there wouldn’t be much pushback in terms of consumers feeling abandoned, but Sony’s own development costs are probably a considerable factor here.