Sony unveils system to turn traditional watches smart - TechCentral

Sony unveils system to turn traditional watches smart

Sony has unveiled a new smartwatch that allows users to attach any of their existing watch faces to a smart band to add digital features such as fitness tracking and notifications.

The firm’s new Wena — which stands for “wear electronics naturally” — watch range houses smartwatch technology such as contactless payments, fitness tracking and other hardware for connection with a phone in the watch strap rather than the face.

The tech giant says this allows users to choose one of its interchangeable traditional watch faces and still access the same features found on modern smartwatches.

Sony says this means users can add smart capabilities to any watch in their collection that uses a 18, 20 or 22mm lug, the gap into which the watch strap fits.

The system was created by Sony employee Teppei Tsushima as part of the company’s Seed Acceleration Programme, which encourages employees to propose and create new product ideas.

Instead of displaying fitness tracking and notification information on the watch face, the Wena system has a small one or two line display on the strap for digital information, separating the digital aspects of the device from the analogue.

In contrast, the majority of current smartwatches or wearables feature digital touchscreens that mimic the interactions users have with their mobile phone.

GPS, heart rate

On the fitness-inclined Wena Wrist Active version, users can wear the strap without a watch face, instead using it as a fitness tracking band, Sony said.

The Active version also comes with GPS tracking and heart-rate sensors to help monitor exercise.

Tsushima said he began work on the design after realising that while he enjoyed wearing a fitness tracker, he also liked his traditional watch and wanted to continue wearing it.

The new watch can now be pre-ordered, starting at £349 (about R6 200).

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