Sony e-paper smartwatch in development say reports
Reports say that Sony is planning a new smartwatch that will have all its surfaces made entirely from e-paper. The design of the watch will prioritise style “rather than trying to outdo more technological offerings,” the Bloomberg report states. However, the precise e-paper technology that would be used was not made clear.
The use of an all encompassing e-ink display will enable users to change the look of the device without replacing physical faces or bands, and the decision to employ e-paper was largely related to the company’s focus on style and customisability rather than functionality.
There are some technical limitations for utilising e-paper technology however. These include the lack of consumer-ready full-colour e-paper panels and low refresh rates, making it unlikely to achieve the same level of software design that other tech-focused smartwatches have reached. But if Sony’s concern is more on form than function, this may not cause too much worry since it would probably not be putting a full mobile OS on the watch anyway.
The smartwatch will be one of the first products to come out of a new business creation division formed by CEO Kazuo Hirai, in an effort to fast-track promising products and innovation inside Sony. In addition to unveiling plans to encourage internal innovation, the division also includes the company’s Seed Acceleration Program that was set up to allow employees to pitch ideas to people inside and outside the company with the aim of receiving funding. Bloomberg says that Sony received 187 applications during the first round of the program in June, and 80 were able to advance to the next stage.
The loss-making Japanese company also recently announced that it will cut its ill-performing portfolios of TVs and smartphones in order to reduce escalating costs, whilst also counting on its PS4 and image sensor businesses to create a multi-billion dollar revenue surge under its new three-year electronics business plan. The company is working toward a possible release of the e-ink smartwatch as soon as next year.