Sony’s SmartWear lineup is one of its key focal areas for mobile tech, and something that has grown in scope and ambition over the course of the past few CES events. This year it’s introducing even more in the way of wearable hardware, and looking at ways to help expand the available software and use cases far beyond what’s been available thus far.
Sony SmartWatch 3
The Sony SmartWatch 3 is already one of the more impressive Android Wear devices out there, but when I tested one out, my main complaint was that its design was ultimately uninspiring. Sony seemed to be going for ‘harmless,’ when competitors were trying to stand out with their own designs. Here at CES, however, they’re introducing a new SmartWatch variant, with a stainless steel, link-based strap that makes the wearable a much better fit for life beyond the gym or the track.
The stainless steel SmartWatch 3 otherwise boasts the same specs and features as its predecessor, including a 1.6-inch square 320×320 display, IP68 water-resistance rating, built-in GPS and standard microUSB port charging. And, since the SmartWatch 3 is a modular device, users should be able to get their hands on the strap as an aftermarket option.
Speaking of those, Sony has also launched a new SmartWatch 3 holder gadget, which will let it work with any standard 24mm width watch strap that uses standard pin-based mounting.
Lifelog web client and API launch
Sony’s CES event last year featured the introduction of its SmartBand lifelogging wearable, along with its Lifelog companion app for Android. The Lifelog software is now accessible via the web, thanks to an HTML5 version which uses Sony’s new open API. The Lifelog app is accessible via your existing Sony Entertainment Network credentials, and the site is responsive, so it’ll work with whatever device you use to access it.
The Sony Lifelog open API will allow other developers to build apps that use the data gathered by your compatible Sony wearables, so that tracking can go beyond basic reporting and move into more practical feature sets. Some examples of what will be possible with the Lifelog API include upcoming IFTTT recipes, Habit Monster routine improvement and development, and Withings Smart Body Analyzer integration to add weight, BMI and body fat percentage information to Lifelog’s data set.
Sony Smart B-Trainer
Sony’s wearable efforts extend beyond wrist hardware, and into head-mounted devices like the SmartEyeglass developer edition. Now, the company is expanding those projects, too, with the Attach! module that provides a screen for a set of regular glasses, and the new Smart B-Trainer prototype, which is a fully waterproof all-in-one audio headset with a full sensor suite built-in. It’s created for runners, to let them use it in all conditions, and it offers voice coaching, music, intelligent playlist creation and more.
Vertical-specific head-mounted devices might be the best way to help this new category of gadgets gain more traction in the general consumer market – Google Glass is also having more luck with industrial and other very specialized uses, and a runner-specific pitch is definitely targeting a group that’s very motivated to purchase gear and accessories to begin with.