Sony launches its Android-only SmartBand in US

By Jonah Comstock

sony smartbandSony has officially launched its Sony SmartBand, the device that was announced at the big consumer electronics event CES earlier this year as the Sony Core, in the United States. The SmartBand helps users passively track various activities throughout their day -- including walking, running, and sleep.

The device launched in Europe earlier this year and consumers were able to purchase it online, but the US Google Play store didn't have the app customers needed to use the device. Now Sony has officially launched the SmartBand for its US customers at a price of $99.

The device consists of a small, water-resistant tracker device that fits into an adjustable wristband. It contains an accelerometer and connects to a user's Android smartphone via Bluetooth Smart. The battery lasts 5 days, takes an hour to charge, and charges via a micro-USB cord.

Like LG's LifeBand Touch, the other tracking device from a major electronics company announced this year at CES, Sony's Android-only compatible tracker has smartwatch capabilities as well: it lights up and vibrates when the user receives a call or text message, and can serve as a remote for the user's media player. But the device's main selling point, as per the CES announcement last year, is the companion Lifelog app

sony lifelog

Similar to ProtoGeo's Moves app (now owned by Facebook), Sony's Lifelog app automatically, passively tracks what the user does throughout the day using an accelerometer in the SmartBand. But the focus is much more on a general quantified view of the user's day than a specific focus on fitness.

"The information compiled in Lifelog is collected partly using sensor technology in your Sony SmartBand SWR10 and partly via data gathered from various applications and sensors in your Android smartphone," the description in the Google Play store says. "The Lifelog interface is colorful, intuitive, graphic and animated and lets you look back on any day to see how active you were, where you went and how you got there. You can also see what pictures you took, the music you listened to and how you were communicating that day."

For instance, the animated log will show rain drops if you were raining when you performed a certain activity. Interestingly, the app tracks sleeping, walking, and running, but not cycling. By pressing a button on the device, users can bookmark a particular moment in the day.

The wearable tracker space is notably crowded, so, while LifeLog's interface is attractive, it will be interesting to see whether it's enough to stand apart from established trackers like those from Fitbit and Jawbone.