updated 06:51 pm EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
Life tracker band launched globally in March, arrives late in the US at a price of $100
Sony announced a new life tracker band during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, but it is just now making available to all consumers in the United States. The Sony SmartBand SWR10 was originally announced as a March release. However, some buyers received it early, unable to use it when some retailers shipped it ahead of the Android app. Now, the device has been officially released by Sony with a $100 price tag.
The SmartBand has been touted as something different from the usual wearable fitness band from companies like Fitbit or Nike. Instead of only tracking exercise related activities or sleep cycles, the SmartBand looks at everyday types of events. For instance, it keeps track of the type of content a wearer consumes, when photos are taken, weather events and can control music players. This is thanks to the tight integration of an app that requires Android 4.4 KitKat, limiting the number of users that can leverage it.
Unlike many fitness bands and smart watches, the SmartBand lacks a visual display. Thanks to the software tie-in, many of the things that users would need to see are on the phone. However, some things, such as changing music tracks, can be controlled on the phone through a series of taps on the band. The lack of display helps minimize the look of device, thanks in part to the small brain center than can be removed from the band. It still handles notifications as well, using a combination of vibrations and LEDs.
Battery life is expected to last up to five days, and change in around an hour. The SmartBand communicates through Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, helping to save some of the power in the 35mAh battery. The core of the unit is charged through micro USB.
The SmartBand is available now at the Sony's online stores in the United States and Canada. The unit is only sold as a package with the black band, but Canadian consumers can pick up a special World Cup Brazil edition through Rogers for a limited time. Other strap colors will be available later in the year.