Sony's newest smartwatch ditches its own software in favor of Google's wearable platform
Sony took us by surprise a little today by announcing the Smartwatch 3 with Android Wear. Previous reports had Sony execs claiming the company was committed to doing its own thing, and yet, here we are. The Smartwatch 3 changes up other things too from its predecessors, most noticeably the design of the band. It still looks like a Sony Smartwatch of old a little, but it's quite different when you get beyond that.
All the units on display at the launch event at IFA 2014 were stuck in demo mode for Android Wear, so what we saw on the software front is very little. Sony is promising that you'll be able to use this without a phone, though, for navigation using the built in GPS and for and music playback with Bluetooth earbuds.
The display is the par for the course 320x320 resolution panel at 1.6-inches and while it's not horrible, it doesn't stand above any of the other Android Wear watches we've already seen. Charging is via microUSB and the port is covered with a flap as it's also IP68 rated for water resistance. It's actually a pretty solid, sturdy watch.
That's in no small part down to the relatively chunky silicone band that surrounds it. The Smartwatch part pops in and out of the center of the band, so while you can change it out, you can only change it out for another Sony band. But it's comfortable enough to wear if pretty uninspiring to look at.
And that would be our biggest criticism of the Smartwatch 3. While the likes of LG, Asus and Motorola are now putting some serious work into creating stylish wearables, Sony has almost taken a step back here from the Smartwatch 2. Pricing will be everything, and while Sony didn't disclose any specifics during the event, if it doesn't undercut rivals it could be a tough sell.