A new report from Bloomberg indicates Sony may be gearing up to produce a new line of smartwatches for release next year. The report states the new watch will focus on design and customization over the technological prowess of watches like the yet-to-be-released Apple Watch and Sony's own SmartWatch 3.
The upcoming Sony device will use an e-paper display in lieu of a traditional LCD or OLED smartwatch screen and, according to Bloomberg, and the display will cover the entire surface of the watch and band.
The watch’s face and wrist band will be made from a patented material that allows the entire surface area to function as a display and change its appearance, the people said, asking not to be named because it hasn’t been announced.
Sony also hopes the e-paper display's outdoor friendly view-ability advantage over other display technologies will attract consumers.
The device will emphasize style, according to Bloomberg's sources, rather than attempting to out-perform technological offerings in the increasingly crowded smart watch field. The watch is said to be part of Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai's recent initiative to fast-track promising products and attempt to regain the culture of innovation the company was known for in years past.
“The innovation program is very important, but it will take time and require some risk-taking,” said Sadao Nagaoka, a professor at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo who studies innovation and serves as an economic adviser to Japan’s Patent Office. “It’s not that Sony ran out of new ideas, but rather, it’s taking too long to restructure, and gigantic losses have starved new businesses of funds.”
The new watch is reportedly part of Sony's new Seed Acceleration Program, which allows any employee with a new idea to pitch to other employees, or a panel of outside experts, for venture financing. Speaking of the program earlier this year, Hirai noted he is optimistic about the new direction of the company, and hopes the innovation program continues to become "the driving force for our new Sony."