MWC 2014: Sony SmartBand SWR10 Wants To Track Your Life

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Sony’s Smartband wearable doesn’t pretend to be a watch. It just wants to play your music. And it gets lonely if it can’t find your phone

Sony has strengthened its wearable technology offering with the launch of the Sony SmartBand SWR10, a wristband that is capable of alerting users to smartphone notifications and tracking a person’s movements and activities through the Lifelog application.

Lifelog will be downloadable from the Google Play store in March and is able to find places visited by the users and tracks what music they listen to, books they read and games they play. It connects to a compatible smartphone via Near Field Communication or Bluetooth and is fully waterproof to IP58 standards despite an exposed MicroUSB port.

SmartWear vision

Sony SmartBand Press (4)If the SmartBand is ever more than ten metres away from a user’s smartphone it will vibrate, while it also notifies when tweets or likes are received on social networks and can control a smartphone’s music application. It can even track sleep cycles so users are woken up at the optimum time.

It will launch in March and initially adopts Henry Ford’s Model T approach of only being available in black, but Sony, conscious of its fashion-conscious potential users, will offer more colours in the future – including a special edition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Sony says the SmartBand is built on open principles and wants developers to come up with ideas for fashion, design and applications.  The Japanese manufacturer’s initial forays into the still fledgling but rapidly expanding wearable technology market have been limited to smartwatches, but the firm is looking towards a wider range of products known as ‘SmartWear’.

“SmartBand and its innovative core extend beyond fitness tracking, to add colourful, fun entertainment experiences to users’ lives,” says Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO, Sony Mobile Communications.  “Entertainment is a part of Sony’s ethos – it’s our culture.”

The company has also announced its new flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z2, which is compatible with the SmartBand, alongside the mid-range Xperia M2 and Xperia Z2 tablet at MWC.

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