Wearable Tech

Sony has e-paper smartwatch up its sleeve, report says

The smartwatch, which could be unveiled as early as next year, will emphasize style over tech features, reports Bloomberg.

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There's no telling just yet what Sony has up its sleeve for a new smartwatch. Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony is working on a new smartwatch where the entire surface -- the watch face and wrist band -- would act as a display, reported Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The smartwatch would use a patented technology called e-paper, sources told Bloomberg. It's not exactly clear how the e-paper, or electronic paper, will operate, but Bloomberg's sources said it is different than traditional e-ink displays found on e-readers and other devices.

Despite still being a niche industry, the smartwatch market is slowly but surely becoming more crowded. Samsung, Pebble, LG and others already have smartwatches on the market, which can run apps and provide notifications -- and in some cases make phone calls -- in addition to telling time. Sony's own $250 SmartWatch 3 runs Android Wear, Google operating system for wearable devices, and features waterproofing and interchangeable straps.

Sony's e-paper watch would not compete on the same level as its current smartwatches or upcoming wearables like the Apple Watch, said Bloomberg. Instead, Sony will emphasize style over technology and focus on consumers who don't require all the latest bells and whistles, said the report.

Whatever the case, Sony needs help boosting its business. Sony on Tuesday announced it would slash it TV and mobile phone lineups in order to cut costs, reported Reuters, and focus on bringing in revenue from its PlayStation 4 video game console and image sensor businesses.

The company is also working on emerging technologies to get out ahead of new ideas, rather than chase leaders. Sony's e-paper watch is part of that effort, said Bloomberg. Sony's emerging technologies division, which aims to develop new products that are profitable and trendsetters in the market, is handling the development of the smartwatch. It could be available as soon as next year.

Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.