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There’s no shortage of activity trackers at this year’s Consumer Electronics Festival, but Sony’s(s sne) Core might take home the award for most unique. The Core is a tiny chip with no display that fits into a larger accessory, like a wristband. It tracks all the basics, like steps and sleep, but it also lets you keep track of notable moments.
The details are still vague, and I haven’t yet seen the Core in person. But The Verge has spent some time with it, and it looks like a nifty little gadget. The Core itself is tiny, about the size of a USB key. And there’s no display: To see the activity information it collects, you’ll have to connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth. There are just three LED indicator lights, and a vibration motor to let you know you have an incoming call. And there’s one lone power button that doubles as a “life bookmark,” which I’ll get to in a minute.
In many ways the Core is a standard activity tracker, only smaller. It reminds me of the Fitbit Zip or Fitbit One (see disclosure), which both clip onto your clothing. But the Core doesn’t clip on. Instead, it can be inserted into a ‘SmartBand’ and worn like a standard fitness band. But its tiny size means it’s versatile enough to be worn in other ways, as well, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a clip-on accessory at some point.
The Core keeps track of your motion and sleep, in addition to some interesting new categories like the music you listen to, the photos you take and social networking interaction with friends (provided you’re connected to your smartphone). All of this information is then gathered in Sony’s Lifelog companion app. This is interesting because instead of just giving you a readout of your activity levels, it’s more like getting an overview of your entire digital day.
To that end, Sony allows you to record “life bookmarks” with the Core. When you press the button on the side of the device, it’ll take note of that moment, and I imagine you can fill in the details later through the app.
That’s about all that Sony has shared thus far, but says it plans to reveal more next month at Mobile World Congress. There’s no firm release date yet, but Sony expects to start shipping the Core this quarter in the U.S. and Europe for 99 Euros (there’s no set price for the U.S. yet). Sony’s SmartBand accessory for wearing the Core is expected to ship in three-packs for 15-20 Euros.
Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.