LAS VEGAS--Nearly hidden away at CES was a $149 Sony SmartWatch (due in March) that doubles as a Bluetooth command center for Android phones.
Featuring brushed chrome edges, the 1.3-inch OLED (65k color) touch screen features Bluetooth 3.0 and is compatible with Android phones from Sony, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and others. You may remember its predecessor, the Live View accessory that Sony Ericsson released in late 2010.
The dust and splash proof SmartWatch is essentially the same story. The updated version is sleeker in appearance (and about 0.3-inches thick), has an accelerometer, can vibrate, and will launch with a colorful swatch of wristband accessories. A black wristband and wristband adapter is included.
In my brief experience with the device, it was responsive and attractive. Hitting a button displays the time, which you can then tap to reach the other apps. An option for continuous time display would probably cause the battery life to suffer greatly.
You can do many things through the techie timepiece, including the basics such as read SMS, e-mail, or the weather. In addition, a pop-up caller id prompt appears during incoming calls (allowing you to accept or deny), or check social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I liked how it displays user icons with the status updates. I am on the fence in regards to the matter if it would be rude to look a watch during a conversation compared to a smartphone, though.
Details on battery life are vague, but with low usage, it will last a week. Moderate use turns the battery life figure into three or four days, while obsessive compulsives might need to recharge via its USB connection once a day.
Developers can learn more at the Smart Extension SDK, which gives further information about how to create apps for the SmartWatch on the Android market.