Sony SmartWatch 2 SW2 Preview

The Sony SmartWatch 2, the successor of Sony’s first SmartWatch is planned to be released in September this year.  The SmartWatch 2 (SW2) already announced on June 25th by Sony and appears on sonymobile.com website.

The SW2 was much improved over the first SmartWatch that suffers some harsh criticism.  Many reviewers were talking more about what the SmartWatch could have been, rather than praising it as an innovative product.  The SW2 is the world’s first water-resistant smartwatch with NFC connectivity. For some of you it might sound odd or even funny that Sony even mentioned the term “water-resistant”,  as most conventional wristwatches are water-proof. The thing is that this is of course not a conventional wristwatch, but rather a smart watch that takes the smartwatch industry a step forward.

Sony is currently a leader in the smartwatch market and it wants to continue to dominate this market in years to come. According to analysts, the Smartwatch market is going to grow at a tremendous speed. By 2016 analysts predict that 31 million smart-watches will be sold worldwide.  What Sony needs to do is to continue improving its SmartWatch watches and be ready to compete again many other smart  watches that will be introduced in the near future.

Sony SmartWatch 2 Overview

Same as the first model, the Sony SmartWatch 2 binds to your Android smartphone in order to provide the user a second screen, from which he can stay up-t0-date and get notifications from his mobile phone in real-time. The new SW2 has a very slim and slick unisex design. You have the option to attach any 24nn wristband of your choice or choose from a wide variety of Sony watchstraps. The wristband is the hot new accessory for Smartwatches. For smartphone you have the wide variety of colorful covers that you use to decorate and protect your phone. With smartwatches you have the wristwatch straps.

Smartwatch 1 vs Smartwatch 2

The First Sony SmartWatch vs SmartWatch –  more elegant, metal design

 

As you can see from the image above,  the SW2 was redesigned to look more like a watch than a gadget, one that you won’t mind wearing instead of your current watch. A thought has been running through my mind. I wonder what all this means to prestige wristwatch makers? — Will this new trend of ‘Smart’ wristwatches will force them to release their own range of smartwatches to be in business?

The Sony SmartWatch is still light-years away from the Rolex, Tag Heuer or a Breitling watch premium design, but I have to admit that it looks pretty good, much better than the toyish look of its predecessor. The design might not appeal to everyone, some people want a watch that looks like a Casio G-Shock, while others might prefer a more masculine metal design. Those unique designed will come in time. However, as the competition gets stiffer, you can expect loads of new smart watches popping out like mushrooms after the rain. If Samsung’s gonna put their feet on the Smart Watch market, we might see even a bigger explosion of new smartwatches release into the market.

Sony SmartWatch 2 SW3 view from the side

The SW1 has a 1.3″ 128×128 pixel resolution and 65K (16bit) color multi-touch display, the SW2 now features a 1.6″ 220×176 pixels Transflective LCD multi-touch display You might not hear about a Transflective LCD technology before. A Transflective LCD is a hybrid of both transmissive and reflective. When surrounded by bright ambient light, the display reflects the light and doesn’t use the backlight in order to reduce battery drain on the device (improve battery life). In this mode the SmartWatch display consumes very little power (aka in reflective mode). According to this article, it reduces the power consumption up to 60%.

When you use the SmartWatch 2 in a dim environment the transmissive backlight is used to provide a good illumination and improve visibility and readability. This means that the backlight can automatically switch on and off based on the intensity of the ambient light surrounding the watch.

The SW2 body is made with aluminum which is both durable and lightweight. You have the option to choose either a silicone or a metal strap. However, one of the most exciting feature is the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, which allow you to quickly pair the watch with your Android device by just touching the two devices together. This is one of the most anticipated features and I’m glad that we see this feature on this new model rather than waiting for it to appear in future devices. Keep in mind that according to the SmartWatch 2 official specs, the NFC is compatible only with Android smartphones running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or later. If your Android device doesn’t feature NFC, you need to bind the two devices using the regular Bluetooth binding procedure. This will be a bit slower though and a bit more complicated.

Is the SmartWatch 2 Waterproof?

Short answer, No. The new Sony SmartWatch gain IP57 water-resistant certification.  IP57 certification refers to a degree of protection, which means that the SW2 is Dust Protected but ingress of dust is not entirely prevented. The ’7′ in the IP rating refers to the Liquid ingress protection, which means that the SW2 can withstand 1 m water submersion up to 30 minutes. Continue reading…

I personally thought that with IP57 rating you will be able to take it into a shower/bath even swim with it in the pool, BUT it looks like I was wrong.  According to the official SmartWatch 2 press release PDF document (can be downloaded / viewed here):

“Suitable for everyday use. Splash/rain
resistant.
NOT suitable for showering, bathing,
swimming, diving, snorkeling, water
related work and fishing.
Please note that the wristband included is not
water or splashproof.”

So NO, the SmartWatch 2 SW2 is not waterproof, and although the watch body is splash-proof, but the wristband included with the device is not. A wristwatch that you cannot take to the shower. When I first heard that the watch is not waterproof I thought that many editors had made a mistake. Oh well, maybe the SmartWatch 3 will be waterproof.

 

Sony has improved the smartwatch user interface, improved the functionality of the device as a standalone watch with added built-in functionality. The SW2 can be charged using a micro USB cable connected to the miniUSB port on the left side of the device.

Here’s a nice video by LowyatTV with a demonstration of the user interface.

As for the time of writing, the Sony SmartWatch has more apps than any other smartwatch on the market (around 200), including the longest battery life among all available smartwatches on the market.

Other SW2 Features:

  • Multilevel user interface (3)
  • Touch / Swipe gestures
  • Multi-language
  • 41.6mm x 41.1mm x 9 mm Dimensions (main unit only)
  • 15 Ready-to-go apps
  • Higher quality materials
  • Works with most Android phones
  • Vibration unit
  • Accelerometer

What can You Do with the SmartWatch 2?

The SmartWatch 2 was designed to serve as a second screen for your phone. Besides showing the time and date like a regular wristwatch, the SmartWatch 2 was designed to interact with your smartphone to bring you real time notifications and alerts (e.g. Incoming tweets, Facebook messages), important and useful information (e.g. Weather, fitness) and having the option to remote control some of the phone’s functionality, including the ability to mute or dismiss phone calls or changing the music track — all without touching your phone.

Having said that, you will need to install the Android app using your phone and of course bond the two devices together — but once you have done that, you can enjoy the many advantages of a smart watch. The SmartWatch 2 might not be the device for everyone, and not everyone will be willing to replace his watch with a smartwatch.  However, there are times where a SmartWatch can make a lot of sense.

Imagine for a second that you are in a pub waiting for your friends to call. The place is very noisy and you can easily miss the call. The SmartWatch 2 can vibrate  to notify you of an incoming phone call. Because the device is attached to your hand not in your bag or in your pocket, you won’t miss that call.

Another example can be in the complete opposite, if you are sitting in a concert hall or in an important meeting where you have to turn your smartphone sound and vibration off. The SmartWatch is always visible within your sight so you can never miss an important notification.

This is of course just the beginning.  More developers are already working to develop the next amazing apps for the SmartWatch and SmartWatch 2.  With the new smartwatch, Sony also introduced a new SDK version for developers to develop with.  The new SDK now features new APIs that were specifically designed for accessing the SmartWatch 2 SW2 new functions. You can develop your own Smart Extensions. You can develop a small game, a new skin for the clock or create an app that talks to the Smart Wireless Headset Pro.  The possibilities are endless, and you only need a bit of imagination and you can start creating apps that many people will download and use on a daily basis. This can’t get more personal than that. Even more personal than a smartphone!

For more information visit Sony Smart Extension APIs page.

Recap

The Sony SmartWatch 2 SW2 is certainly an improved version over its predecessor. Sony improved the UI,  external design, build-quality, functionality, durability, connectivity and performance. Although when you go over the specs at first, it doesn’t seem to be such a big improvement, but it is. The SW2 won’t replace your smartphone, and maybe in the future it will be (when we have flexible displays).

I personally think that the SW2 is a great ‘Smart Watch’ that put Sony really strong on the map and let Sony continue leading this Smartwatch revolution. This is just the start guys, expect to see lots of new smartwatches from many vendors in the very near future. The SmartWatch 2 will also help Android gain even more market share. As it becomes more popular, more devs will start developing apps for the SW and we will begin a new area in the mobile device industry, where even people who never wore a watch in their life, will be given a good reason to do so now.



{ 1 comment… add one }

  • max September 10, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Applications of the old sony smartwatch will run on smartwatch 2?

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