Thursday, 20 November 2014 12:54

Sony's SmartWear wearables hit the shops


The Sony SmartBand Talk is now on sale in Australia, with the SmartWatch 3 close behind.

The Sony SmartBand Talk was announced a couple of months ago and has now gone on sale in Australia - but only in black. The white version won't arrive until January, and there's still no work when the pink, lime, blue or orange variants will reach our shores.

Sony's entry into the fitness band market costs $199, and you'll only find it at Sony Centres, Sony Kiosks, the Sony Store Online, and Telstra (where you have the option to pay $79 upfront with the rest being added to the monthly payments on a Mobile Accelerate plan).

It has the familiar rubber strap design (IP65/IP68 compliant for dust and waterproofing, so you should be able to leave it on while showering), and a power-miserly E-Ink display.

The device works with Sony's Lifelog app for Android devices, recording physical (e.g., steps taken, places visited) and electronic (e.g., photos taken, music listened to) activity.

"Life is a journey, and journeys are made up of stories and experiences that define you – this is the underlying principle for Lifelog, the Android app at the heart of our SmartWear Experience. We're going beyond mere fitness tracking and number crunching, to help you log and preserve those moments that matter," said Sony Mobile Communications Oceania managing director Peter McKeon.

Why SmartBand Talk? For one thing, it includes a microphone and speaker that save you taking your mobile phone out of your pocket or bag. Whether that's a good idea in public (people on the hoof using wired or Bluetooth headsets look odd enough without talking into their wrists) is a decision you'll have to make for yourself.

And we're not sure how it would cope with the background noise if you take a call while showering ...

Perhaps the voice command capability (examples include "What's the time?", "Read text message," and "What's my next event?") is more useful.

Sony's other new wearable, the SmartWatch 3 is still on its way, but the company implied it will be here before Christmas.

Sony SmartWatch 3

Using Android Wear and therefore allowing the installation of additional apps, the SmartWatch 3 presents messages and notifications from a paired smartphone, and has voice commands and activity monitoring like the SmartBank Talk.

It has built-in ambient light, accelerometer, compass, gyro and GPS sensors, and is said to run for up to two days of normal use on one charge.

The SmartWatch 3 costs $299 and is available from the same outlets as the SmartBand Talk. Again, Telstra provides the option of monthly payments in conjunction with Mobile Accelerate plans: $59 down, then $10 a month.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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