Sony’s SmartWatch 2 To Launch In The UK Next Week

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

Follow on: Google +

The clever timepiece is available for pre-order at £120

Pre-order information on a retailer website indicates that Sony’s Android-based SmartWatch 2 will appear on the shelves in the UK on 15 July.

The device was designed as a companion to any smartphone running Android 4.0 or higher. After connecting via Bluetooth, SmartWatch 2 can display messages and notifications, run specially designed apps and control certain functions of the handset. It features a bigger screen than its predecessor, as well as a splash-proof construction and added NFC capability.

Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung are all reportedly working on their own smartphone-connected watch concepts. Pebble, another smartwatch and a Kickstarter record holder, started shipping earlier this year.

sony_Smartwatch2_03 (Custom)Wearable computing

SmartWatch 2 features a 1.6-inch colour touchscreen with 220×176 pixel resolution that remains readable in bright sunlight. It offers customizable watch faces, and can be used as a compass, timer or stopwatch out of the box.

After being linked with a smartphone, the device can display text and email messages, calendar appointments, call logs and content from Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. When the wearer receives a call or new message, they are alerted with “gentle vibration”.

Used together with a Bluetooth headset, SmartWatch 2 can serve as a fully-functional remote allowing user to make or take calls, change volume or mute without taking their smartphone out of the bag or pocket.

Added NFC capability allows users to pair the SmartWatch 2 with a smartphone by simply touching one device to the other.

According to Sony, watch battery lasts for two to four days with normal use, and can be recharged through the micro USB port.

The device offers a unique development platform – SmartWatch apps are incompatible with regular smartphones, but they are still hosted on Google Play. In June, there were over 1,000 apps tagged “Sony SmartWatch” on Google’s app store, including software that allows users to operate the watch as a camera viewfinder, a GPS data display and an eBay bid tracker.

Sony recently opened access to the firmware of the first generation SmartWatch. The company hopes this move will help turn the device into a fully-fledged platform and inspire more innovative applications.

What do you know about wearable computing? Take our quiz!