Is it time for an Android-powered smart watch? Sony thinks so, judging from its announcement today of the SmartWatch, which runs a modified version of Google’s Android operating system.
As usually happens in the app world, Apple beat Sony and Android to the punch with its iPod Nano, which can be worn as a watch. However, the “Nano watch” doesn’t install apps beyond what Apple ships it with. The Sony SmartWatch, on the other hand will able to run apps downloaded from Google Play that are customized to fit its 1.3-inch diagonal screen.
Music fans who use Android have plenty of reasons to consider the Sony SmartWatch MN2, which retails for $150 and ships on May 4:
You can tuck away your Android smartphone or tablet and control the music playback functions using the watch, which relays your commands to the mothership via Bluetooth.
You’ll be able to access a special section of the Google’s Play app marketplace to find additional apps to install on the Sony SmartWatch; so far as we can tell, any developer who wants to make something for it can, for the most part. Sony’s announcement specifically mentions music apps as among the selections from which users can choose starting in May.
However, this watch lacks a headphone jack (unlike the iPod Nano), so really, you’ll be interacting with music apps on your smartphone or tablet. That feature could come in really handy (so to speak) integrated into all sorts of apps: reading song titles on streaming radio services; starring Spotify songs for later playback; vibrating when someone likes your jam; and all sorts of other stuff developers will probably think of, like “awesome-ing” and “lame-ing” songs on Turntable.fm (assuming it ever releases an Android version) because Turntable.fm really does need external hardware;
3. Surreptitious Time Checks
You know what’s annoying? When you’re talking to someone and they whip out their smartphone to check the time to see if there’s somewhere else they need to be. You know what’s not annoying? When people glance at their watch in a fraction of a second, so you don’t even see them doing it. The same goes for Twitter, email, and Facebook updates, which are sent to your watch from your phone where they display in chronological order. We concede that this isn’t only convenient for music fans (and neither is the next one), but it can help you get to shows in time to catch the opening band without coming off like a jerk.
4. Looking Responsible
We have no proof of this, but our sense is that wearing a watch makes one appear more responsible, especially to people who grew up before everyone carried a cellphone. Wearing a watch says, “You can trust me to get things done and be at certain places at certain times, even if I am really into dubstep.” Wearing a SmartWatch says, “You can trust me even if I am really into dubstep and also I sort of come from the future.”
Images courtesy of Sony: