Japan's Sony Mobile Communications announced its first smartband in Taiwan Monday, extending its leadership in the niche market of wearable computing devices to a new product category.
The Sony SmartBand SWR10 is waterproof and incorporates a removable core unit that contains advanced sensor technology that feels the wearers' movements and sends personal fitness data to their smartphones or tablets.
Sony Mobile began sales of the device exclusively through Web portal Yahoo-Kimo Inc. that day lasting through to May 8, at a cost of NT$3,990 (US$133). After May 8, it will be more widely available through various retail outlets.
The SWR10 can be paired with four Sony Xperia phones — the Z1, the Z1 Compact, the Z Ultra and the latest flagship Z2. It is also compatible with Android-based handsets from other brands, including the LG Nexus 5, the LG Nexus 4, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the HTC One and the HTC One (M8).
Jonathan Lin, general manager of Sony Mobile's Taiwan branch, said the company has enjoyed brisk sales in Taiwan's wearable device market since it launched its first smartwatch in 2012.
“In the smart wear segment, such as watches, our market share is much higher than that of other communications brands,” Lin said at a press conference announcing the SWR10.
“Based on our projections, our market share of smartbands should be also much higher than that of our competitors,” he said, adding that such products will remain a niche market in the short-term until a wearable device ecosystem supported by Google Inc. becomes mature.
Google officially made inroads into the wearable market March 18 when it announced Android Wear, a version of its Android operating system designed specifically for wearable devices.
The Internet search giant said in a blog post that it has already been working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asustek, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung, as well as chipmakers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, MediaTek and Qualcomm, to launch watches powered by Android Wear later this year.
Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. also unveiled its first wearable device at a press conference in New York April 29. The Acer Liquid Leap smartband is expected to go on sale in only a few markets in late July or early August, the company said.