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Summary:

Yup, Sony has a new smartwatch. But it seems like a slightly tweaked third iteration of the same device based on the feature set. At least the company fixed the timekeeping aspect: The watch won’t forget the time when disconnected from a phone.

Sony SmartWatch 2 trio

As expected, Sony launched a new smartwatch on Tuesday at the Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai. The SmartWatch 2 is a follow-up to the company’s Live View series of watches that appeared in the past few years. Like its predecessors, SmartWatch 2 acts as a second screen for Android phones but adds NFC, or near-field communications wireless technology, for easy pairing of the watch with a handset. Oh, and it tells the time, too.

Sony SmartWatch 2 trio

That last bit sounds obvious of course, but Sony is touting the SmartWatch 2 not just as a second screen. The device has “standalone capabilities” as well, which, when I read that, got me excited. Then, I noted what these functions are:

“When not connected to your phone, SmartWatch 2 works as a standalone digital watch. Read previously received notifications, access the time, set your alarm or even use as a light when searching for your keys.”

My first reaction was, “Well, I should hope so!”

I do remember that when my first Live View watch experienced a data connection loss — more often than not — the watch actually lost track of the time. So, all in all, this is a good feature fix, even if it’s something that never should have been a problem for a watch in the first place.

Motoactv-golf-edition-featuredI think I’ve been spoiled by my own smartwatch, which offers more standalone functions: a scorekeeper and GPS on the golf course and a fully-featured exercise and heart rate tracker. Second screens are nice — they can help triage messages from the smartphone — but today’s technology supports apps and features on a watch that don’t rely on a smartphone.

So what else is new in the SmartWatch 2? Mostly incremental changes from what I can see. The device is now water-resistant, has a user interface similar to Android, and boasts a larger touchscreen display: 1.6-inches with 220 x 176 pixels. It still works for reading social network messages, caller ID, texts, and as a music remote; all features that were in the prior generation. Overall, at least on paper, the SmartWatch 2 seems far more evolutionary than ground-breaking.

Sony SmartWatch 2

Still, Sony must be doing something right here as it quotes research firm Strategy Analytics in saying that Sony is the smartwatch market leader. That may be true. Even if it is, however, incremental advances at best won’t be enough to stave off more nimble and advanced competition in the smartwatch market. Sony says to expect the SmartWatch 2 in September.

  1. Here is another one. http://igg.me/at/kreyos/x/2367927

    ” KREYOS: The ONLY Smartwatch With Voice & Gesture Control”.
    Similar to Pebble. and I am sure a lot less than the Sony. They have new campaign on indiegogo and have made over $140,000 in about 36hr.

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    1. The world doesn’t need more (public) voice controlled devices. Buttons and keyboards are silent and don’t unnecessarily disturb others around you.

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    2. Stop spamming referral links

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  2. Just bought the original SmartWatch and really like the ability to see email and other notices without pulling my GN from its holster. I am glad that they have made the screen bigger, better battery life and hopefully better viewability outside on a bright day (which completely makes the current watch useless). Personally, I am glad they have made improvement changes on a concept that already works and opening the SDK to developers.

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  3. Jahan Rashid Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    I think Sony are heading in the right direction and keeping the costs down by not having, Wi-Fi, gps, extra bulk for battery, massive storage etc.

    I own both the Motoactv and the current Smartwatch. The Motoactv is used whilst training, I don’t use the mp3 function or headphones with it anymore as the cord does my head in.
    I would wear the Motoactv all the time but its missing vital features:
    1. no vibration motor for notifications, useless for call handling if you want your phone on silent or watching a movie with loud sound.
    2. No Apps like the Sony Smartwatch
    The size of the Motoactv doesn’t bother me.

    If you search for Smartwatch on the play store there’s hundreds of useful apps (obviously you still need your phone near by.) for example:

    Turn your phone on silent/vibrate etc.
    read texts/whatsapp/Gmail/weather/twitter/news/
    Use it as a remote for TVs and other entertainment systems.
    Google maps/Sat Nav if your phones in ruck sack etc.
    the list goes on,

    yes I would have liked a pedometer in the new Sony Smartwatch and yes us fitness fanatics are out of luck this time around. I’m all about battery life and notifications though. You have your phones with you for 90% of the week anyway so Sonys way makes sense to me. I might get my head down and make a golf app for the Smartwatch 2 if golfers have their phone in there golf bag of course!

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  4. We were first, with a bad product.

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