From confirmed devices from Pebble and VEABuddy to reported ones from Apple, Samsung and Google, smartwatches appear to be the next frontier in mobile computing. Yet as the rumors continue to swirl, it’s easy to forget that Sony has been a founder of the space for a few years now. Its first SmartWatch didn’t exactly spark a revolution, but today Sony announced that it is taking another shot at the wearables market with the SmartWatch 2.
From a core functionality standpoint, the SmartWatch 2 doesn’t appear to stray too far from its predecessor. It’s still Android-based, and it will still let users receive calls, check text messages, read emails, take photos, track fitness stats, listen to music and checking mapping routes, among other things, in conjunction with various apps on “most” smartphones running Android 4.0 and up.
The device can be connected to said phones through Bluetooth 3.0 or NFC, the latter of which enables a pairing with a single tap. In general, Sony is positioning the SmartWatch 2 as a “second screen” companion for a smartphone, one that lets users perform the various functions of a phone without having to remove it from their pockets. And of course, it can also be a regular digital watch when it’s not connected.
The changes here mostly come with the SmartWatch 2’s spruced up design. It body is still made of aluminum, but the rubber wristband of before has made way for a stainless steel replacement. When put together, Sony says it’ll weigh 122.5 grams (0.27 pounds). That wristband can also be replaced with any other 24mm strap.
The watch’s touchscreen display has been upped to 1.6 inches, while its resolution has been boosted to 220 x 176. It’s said to have better visibility in sunlight too. And as with many of Sony’s other flagship products, the SmartWatch 2 is also dust- and water-resistant for everyday use – though the company notes that users shouldn\’t take it with them while they go swimming or showering anytime soon.
Sony says that the SmartWatch 2 will get about 3-4 days of “typical usage” out of its battery, while “low usage” users will be able to squeeze 5-6 days out of the device. Unlike the first SmartWatch and its proprietary charging cable, the SmartWatch 2 can be charged through any microUSB cord.
Finally, on the software front, the SmartWatch 2 runs a redone UI that Sony claims is more similar to Sony’s regular Android skin. At first blush, the company doesn’t appear to be lying – icons look the same as those on Sony’s Xperia phones, and the front of the display even comes with the familiar back, home and options keys.
iOS users will be left out in the cold, but Android users interested in Sony’s attempt to jumpstart the smartwatch market will be able to pick up the SmartWatch 2 when it launches globally this September. No pricing details have been given just yet.