The new Wena Wrist smartwatch from Sony has a traditionally-designed analog face but is equipped with a wristband that has electronics-like functions such as NFC, activity tracking and email notifications.
(Photo : Wena)
Sony wants to create a smartwatch that will cater to fashion-conscious wearers who look for both design and functionality in their wearables.
The upcoming smartwatch, dubbed Wena Wrist, is a crowdfunding project in a campaign that lasts for 60 days, with the aim of raising $83,000. Details about the campaign can be seen at First Flight, the company's own fundraising site in Japan.
Wena, which means "wear electronics naturally," is the brainchild of CEO Kazuo Hirai of Sony as a result of an internal entrepreneurship program. Hirai highlighted three main features of the smartwatch. These include NFC wallet that's supported by the Japanese Felica standard, activity tracking which can monitor the wearer's health, and notifications such as email alerts that can be in the form of vibration and LED light on the band which the user can customize.
The company's engineers worked with Japanese maker Citizen Watch Co. to design the watch in a way that would make it look like a normal wristwatch when viewed from the top but have embedded smart functions into the wristband.
The watch will come in two models: Chronograph and Three Hands. The Chronograph version can tellÂ time using three separate hands and dials that display hours, seconds and minutes. It is expected to run for five years. The Three Hands version is designed with a standard looking watch face and should be able to run for three years. While both versions measure 42 millimeters across (1.65 inch), the band is said to last for at least one week before it requires charging through a cradle.
Designers of Wena are hoping to attract consumers from the business sector and perhaps win over the hearts of those who are skeptical about the fashion sense, or lack thereof, of smartwatches. While Sony has already produced some smartwatches in the past, the company has yet to achieve a competitive stand against huge rivals such as Apple and Samsung. Both companies are known to have manufactured smartwatches that can receive phone calls and emails and store games.
The new Wena Wrist from Sony is scheduled to ship in March and April 2016. The Three Hands version, which will come in silver, is said to have a price point of $287. On the other hand, the Chronograph version, which comes in black, will be priced at $576.