Sony announced the SmartWatch 2 back in June, and it is available for purchase right now. The SmartWatch 2 has a larger display than the previous LiveView watch, and also supports NFC. It is water- and dust-proof, making it perfect for outdoor activities. Sony should sell a ton of these new smartwatches, but those sales hinge largely on Sony’s relationship to Google.
The SmartWatch 2 is compatible with any Android device that runs Android 4.0 or later. That gives it an advantage over competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, which will only work with the Galaxy Note 3 at launch. The wearable technology market is just beginning to find some traction with consumers. Sony released their first LiveView watch in 2010, but smartwatches have not been given much attention until this year. The Pebble watch, with its record-setting Kickstarter campaign funding, has done a lot to draw eyeballs and dollars to what smartwatches can do. Google and Apple are rumored to be working on smartwatches of their own. The competition is just heating up and Sony will want to stay on top.
It seems kind of obvious to say that Sony’s SmartWatch 2 success hinges on the relationship with Google and Android, but that relationship can be fragile. Verizon is one company that does not work well with Google or OEMs around Android devices. Thankfully, Sony and Google have a solid relationship when it comes to Android. Sony has seen increased success in the past 18-24 months with the Xperia line of Android smartphones and tablets. The Xperia Z and recently announced Xperia Z1 are top-of-the-line handsets. Sony is also very good about releasing firmware and kernel source code in accordance with open-source Android licensing. This not only keeps developers happy, but allows Sony and Google to continue to work together to improve Sony’s Android offerings.
While Sony is capable of selling a million LiveView watches each year, that doesn’t mean that they will. Android holds a 70% global market share, so Sony needs to continue to work closely with Google if they want the SmartWatch 2, and any future offerings, to be successful.
Have you picked up a SmartWatch 2? What do think about it?