It sure took a while, but Sony's SmartBand SWR10 lifestyle-tracking wristband has officially been announced for the U.S. market.
The release marks the end of an awkward two-month waiting period. U.S consumers were able to buy the Smartband in early April via various online retailers, but the wearable's essential Lifelog app wasn't yet available in Google Play. A software update made Lifelog available to select Sony smartphone owners, but now--finally--Lifelog supports all Android 4.4 devices, and Sony has officially introduced the $100 Smartband to U.S. consumers.
I've had my Smartband since April 4, and I'm stoked to begin using it. In a wearables market packed with so many carbon-copy, step-focused activity trackers, the Smartband adds a clever new twist.
Sure, it counts steps and records your sleep cycles, but via the Lifelog app it can also track and illustrate the precious little details of your daily life.
Take a photo, and a record of that event appears on a whimsical timeline. Watch a video, and that viewing shows up on your life graph--what Sony calls your "journey view." Was it raining on that day when you logged a 45-minute workout? You'll see raindrops on your timeline, which is apparently swipeable from the moment you begin using Lifelog to the present day.
There's also a map view that plots your location across the globe. You can also bookmark special moments with a button press on the Smartband itself (more about that later after I complete some real-world testing).
In essence, the Smartband is the perfect wearable for self-obsessed, inwardly focused, and possibly even narcissistic tech enthusiasts. But isn't this what the Quantified Self movement is all about? If nothing else, Sony deserves major kudos for introducing a completely different spin to the high-tech wristband space.
I also appreciate the Smartband's quiet design: Like the Jawbone UP24, you can wear it next to a traditional wristwatch without regret. The waterproof band vibrates for notifications of incoming calls and messages, and can be used to control your phone's software music player.
Stay tuned for more hands-on coverage and a final review.