Finding the perfect accessory for your Android phone got a bit easier this week with the unveiling of the Sony SmartWatch. Like the original Sony LiveView, the new SmartWatch connects to your Android phone via Bluetooth and displays a variety of notifications from social networks, emails and even access and control of applications on your phone.
The Sony SmartWatch is an improvement over last year’s model with a full color display, accelerometer and a variety of color rubber wrist bands to choose from. For those who want a more traditional look, Sony also has a wrist band adapter that will allow users to connect a standard watch wristband.
Funnily enough, it lacks the one feature we most consistently associate with a watch—indeed, a feature we might consider indispensable: the continuous display of the time. But in order to preserve battery life, the Sony SmartWatch only tells you the time when you “ask” it, by tapping once on the screen.
Tapping again calls up a range of apps on this Android-compatible device. You can check your e-mail, texts, the weather, Facebook, Twitter.
When a call comes in on your phone, you can reject or accept it via the watch (quite handy if you’re wearing a headset). And the thing is tiny, 36 millimeters by 36 millimeters, 8 millimeters thick, and weighing just 15.5 grams before you slap on a wristband of your choosing.
A few more details, for the spec-hungry: the watch uses Bluetooth to manage its commands to your Droid, and sports a multitouch color OLED display. Sony’s keeping somewhat mum on battery life, but CNET says about a week with low usage, half a week with moderate usage. The watch is something of an update of Sony’s LiveView watch, which was consistently ranked among the top handful of smart watches out there.
The main difference between the Sony SmartWatch and the other Android watches we’ve seen at CES is that Sony’s watch is simply an accessory rather than a standalone device. The good news is that the Sony SmartWatch can now keep the time even if it is not paired with your Android phone. By design, the SmartWatch is limited in functionality, but that allows it to retain its charge for much longer than the i’m Watch and the Motorola ACTV.
Sony’s SmartWatch is compatible with all phones running Android 2.1 or higher. The Sony rep we spoke with mentioned that the final hardware will be tweaked slightly before launch, but we should see the Sony SmartWatch show up on Sony’s website and retail stores before the end of Q1 for $149.
and this is the review: