How do you set yourself apart when your brand is crumbling around you? Introduce a smartwatch that looks like a regular watch. Yeah, outside the box thinking…
Meet Wena (short for ‘wear electronics naturally’) from Sony. Instead of a flashy screen where you can tap out SOS, the watch relies on packing the technology in the band. The watch face keeps its traditional look.
The Wena Wrist allows people not willing to forgo the understated look of a nice watch for a wearable to make the leap. You get the old school look coupled with the new features. The NFC chip in the band allows for contactless payments, the ability to hop on supported public transportation and use it as an ID card.
LEDs light up for notification; vibration alerts come standard as does fitness tracking. In a bit of intrigue, Sony’s Wena is water resistant down to 30 meters.
Sony didn’t handle the design for the watch in-house. Instead, it turned to a collaboration with Citizen, bringing immediate street cred to the company that is looking to jump into wearable technology.
A 22mm strap was born, and it is possible for the strap to fit any watch that meets the technical specifications. That should get everyone to notice. Why upgrade the entire watch when you can just buy the latest band? Not exactly the most subtle dig at the Apple Watch, but the company has a point.
How much for a Wena? It will come in two styles, the $287 Three Hands and the $576 Chronograph. You are hemmed into the type of phone you can use with the device. Nope, not Sony. Apple. You have to be running iOS 8 or greater to use the smart functionality of the watch.
What about battery life? The strap is good for about a week between charges, and the watch battery will give you three to five years of checking the time depending which style you buy.
Sony keeping it simple and in a price range that isn’t outrageous? Go figure. Now, will it be enough to make a splash in the wearable market? It’s a crowded market, but they did kidnap the guys who make Apple’s conference videos.
The company has already met its fundraising goal, and the watches are expected to start shipping next year. While most of its crowdfunding is a proof-of-concept, the Wena Wrist does have the opportunity to make a splash.
Consumers still want their watches to be statement pieces. That means keeping them looking like an actual watch. Sony is answering a consumer demand. Now we wait to see if the marketing can match its product line.
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