Get(ting) Smart(er)

The announcement of Xperia S is supported by the launch of three new Smart Extras(TM) accessories to enhance the experience on Android and to bring content to consumers’ smartphones in an entirely new way. The new ‘Smart’ range from Xperia really shows Sony and Sony Ericsson have really stepped up to the plate in terms of offering higher quality accessories. Links to the YouTube video promos are embedded in the titles – just click and go!

SmartWatch
Some of you may remember SE’s first forays into Bluetooth watches from back in 2007/2008. They were nice devices, but hideously expensive and they didn’t really do much. Apart from being expensive.
Moving a little closer to the present, the LiveView was released November 2010 and while anticipation for the device was good the finished product was not. The first release was buggy as hell; indeed, reading through reviews on the Amazon website, the LiveView gets a bit of a kicking. A subsequent software update corrected many of these faults and one of my Test Lab colleagues gets on very well with his.
I myself purchased a LiveView from eBay back in Summer 2011 and found it to be a neat little device…for the 24 hours I used it. Reaching into my pocket to retrieve my phone, after LiveView had buzzed on my wrist to tell me I had a call, the device was knocked from it’s wrist mount and bounced on the floor – permanently disabling the right shoulder button and rendering the device useless!
Fingers crossed then the SmartWatch will be able to withstand a 3-foot drop. Sporting a slim-line body and an glossy aluminium finish, the SmartWatch certainly looks the part. The screen has been updated to an even better OLED screen than on previous versions and I can quite happily say I want one – provided, that is, if the foibles and problems from before have been ironed out. The watch is rumoured to be packaged with unbranded handsets as well, so there’s plenty to hope for with this item! Official Sony gumpf here.


Smart Wireless Pro
Moving onto the next new device, the Smart Wireless Pro, I’ve got a feeling this is designed to replace the MW600 and it’s associated range. I actually won and still own (in working order, no less) one of these and it’s a nifty little device that again, should’ve done more than was offered. There’s no reason why the MW600, with its pretty LED screen, shouldn’t have at least offered the ability to read texts. After all, it can receive radio signals and interpret them as music, so why not text?
This years offering then does just this…and a whole lot more. It’s again a Bluetooth wireless headset that will indeed allow users to listen to music, read text messages, view incoming calls and access calendar alerts. When not connected to the phone it also functions as a radio player AND an independent MP3 player, coming complete with MicroSD support and shipping with a 2GB card – 2 gadgets for the price of 1? Aces! I want! I want!
With a veritable slew of spare MicroSD cards at home, including a 16GB card that won’t be required if/when I get the Xperia S (XS) I can see the Wireless Pro fast becoming the ideal spare music player should my phone or iPod pack up. Particularly as it won’t be bogged down with an overly complicated OS, I should get at least 14.5 GB of music on there. Aces – even more so!
Once can only hope this excellent little device has support for three-ring 3.5mm earphone jacks, otherwise a lot of LiveSound users – myself included – will be more than a little peeved. Looking at the literature provided though, the earphones pictured to appear to be LiveSounds…but I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Official Sony gumpf here.


SmartTags
These little keyrings, similar to the pound-coin-shaped keyrings for supermarkets, interact with the NFC capability of the NXT Xperia’s via GPS-based apps.
For example:
*You keep a SmartTag in your car. Get in the car; touch the phone to the SmartTag and the phone will launch a preconfigured profile in the phone –perhaps to open Navigation and the Music Player.
*Or you could have one attached to your desk at work. You wander into the office; your phone isn’t on silent. Sure, you could turn the volume down yourself…OR…you can setup a silent profile on the phone, tap the phone on the Tag and NFC takes care of it for you, quieting the phone…and maybe switching to auto-sync so you can keep up to date with Facebook/Twitter/email, you know, to help the working day go faster!
That’s a pretty nifty use of a comparatively new technology, at least for Xperia phones. If only I could setup a profile to get my phone to make tea (or at least activate a tea-making mechanism) I’d be quids in! NFC tagging – it’s the future! Official Sony gumpf here.


It’s shaping up to be a fantastic year for Sony Mobile Communications!

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