It never rains, but it pours. Just a day after the intriguing Pebble smart watch got almost instantly funded on Kickstarter, Sony is back in the game with its latest take on the wearable smartphone augmenter. As promised, the SmartWatch that we saw at CES (and which is completely and totally not the underwhelming LiveView watch from last year) is now shipping to the good old US of A. $149.99 gets you a Bluetooth-paired secondary screen for your Android phone, complete with alerts, alarms and other goodies. And yes, the Sony SmartWatch will pair with any Android device regardless of manufacturer.
This is achieved by the SmartWatch app found in the Google Play Store, though some functions also require the LiveWare app as well. These apps allow the SmartWatch to shout out alerts for calls, texts, emails and social networks, but also has “micro apps” that are essentially tiny versions of their Android counterparts for Gmail, RSS, Facebook, etc. There’s not much that the 1.3-inch OLED display can do with just 128 pixels square, but for a quick look at your personal data without bringing your phone out of your pocket, it works.
The $150 price tag is a bit north of the $119 we were told at CES. The electronic housing can be removed from the band for charging, and you can get different colored bands (all rubber) for $20 a pop. Sony says that low usage will last the SmartWatch a week, and SlashGear found that it was nigh impossible to wear the thing out in a single day, so no need to worry about your ticker suddenly refusing to tock.
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Sony’s Bluetooth Xperia SmartWatch now shipping in the US