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Sony Mobile unveils SmartWatch 2, Xperia Z Ultra smartphone

Matt Hamblen | June 26, 2013
The third-generation smartwatch and the 6.4-in., quad-core phone will run Android and be available globally this year.

Sony Mobile announced an Android-based SmartWatch 2 with NFC wireless as well as a large-screen 6.44-in. HD smartphone called the Xperia Z Ultra today.

The global announcement was made at the Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai, but a U.S.-based Sony spokeswoman said there would be no information on exact U.S. availability or pricing at this time.

However, the SmartWatch 2 SW2 (its full name) is expected to be available worldwide in September, with the Ultra launching globally in the third quarter, with timing to vary by market.

Sony SmartWatch 2
The Sony SmartWatch 2 is water-resistant.

The SmartWatch 2 comes with a 1.6-in., 220 x 176 pixel color LCD display with touch and swipe capabilities. It is easy to read in sunlight and battery time is three to four days with typical use, Sony said. The Android version for the SmartWatch is listed by Sony as "4.0 and later."

NFC wireless makes it the first smartwatch with NFC, an update from the original Sony SmartWatch. Bluetooth 3.0 allows for easy one-touch wireless pairing to an Android phone, like the Xperia Z Ultra. When not paired to a phone, it works as a standalone digital watch where users can read previously received notifications or emails.

When paired, the SmartWatch 2 allows the taking of calls and snapping of photos by a touch of the wrist. It can be used as a second screen for an Android smartphone, as an app interface to control a presentation remotely, or to monitor a mapping app. And it can also be paired with a music player to adjust volume and select tracks.

Sony's head of companion products, Stefan Persson, said that Sony introduced its first Bluetooth watch in 2007. "Competitors are only now launching first-generation devices, while we are already launching a 3d generation devices with the insight gained from over half a million customers, combined with Sony's wealth of technology expertise to create the best ever smartphone experience," he said.

Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are all reported to be making smartwatches for release in the coming year.

Persson said there are already 200 unique SmartWatch apps with 1 million downloads to date. He said that analysts have predicted 41 million smart watches will be sold by 2016.

The watch itself is made of aluminum and plastic and is splashproof, but not suitable for showering and bathing. It comes with a black metallic wristband. The watch itself is almost square and about one-third an inch thick. Exactly, it measures 1.638 x 1.618 x 0.354 inches. It weighs less than an ounce (0.828) or 23.5 grams. Other specs were not available.


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