Not strictly startup news but a sign of the shift big companies in the region are going through, Sony’s SmartBand is set to release this month. In less than five months, the smart wristband was developed from concept to finished product by developers in Lund.
It’s been crazy fast. We are very proud to have done this in such a short time. This product is not so ‘techy’. It raises a whole other interest than some other gadgets, says Kristian Tärnhed, product coordinator for the new gadget, according to Sydsvenskan.
The Sony SmartBand is being launched globally in March. The bracelet will initially be sold in nine different colors, however collaboration with outside manufacturers opens many doors for a changing and adaptable appearance. The price of the mobile device “core” is set around €99.
It is built out of durable silicone and equipped with a motion sensor that can be connected to a mobile device. Created in Lund was the small detachable control panel known as the “core”. Inserted in the Smartband, it is closest to the wearer’s skin and therefore protected by the silicone on the outside. Being removable, it can be integrated into future gadgets from Sony (and other collaborators). The SmartBand not only works with Lifelog but a number of applications connected to the bracelet, on different Android mobiles. It is speculated that the development of Android applications for the SmartBand will pick up quickly, with input from third parties as well. Some ideas for features include applications to measure stress, sugar levels or the heartbeat.
“We are wide open to all new applications. It’s hard to tell where this might go. The software is constantly updating. But now we in Lund are finally back in the mainstream, and leading the development of the world when it comes to smart accessories.” says Stefan K Persson, Vice President; Head of Companion Products, Sony Mobile Communications.
Bluetooth and NFC-compatible, the waterproof Smartband is 24/7 wearable device. Information from the sensor regarding the user’s movements, whereabouts and sleep patterns among others are transmitted to the cell phone to an Android app known as Lifelog.
This is about a ‘lifelog’ – a kind of digital diary where you can stream music, pictures and communication to your various activities. We also have a wireless camera in the pipeline that can be attached to the bracelet, says Kuni Suzuki.
Lifelog tracks virtually all of the user’s daily habits from the time they wake up to the end of their day. It records their physical, social and entertainment activity. The functions are incorporated into the SmartBand in various ways; when a text or call is received on the cellphone, the SmartBand vibrates; when an alarm is set on the cellphone, the SmartBand vibrates and/or rings, and so forth. It can be used as a media control for music and videos on the cellphone. A major feature of the SmartBand is its role in fitness; while working out the bracelet can successfully calculate the calories you’ve burnt, count the steps you’ve jumped and punches you’ve swung (among others). In addition, Lifelog allows users to set goals and monitor progress right from their mobile device. Pictures taken on the cellphone are recognised by the bracelet, and the location, time and company the user had are automatically attached to them. All these features and many more culminate on the Lifelog, where they are displayed as a timeline of the user’s day.
The market for fitted and wearable digital technology has gradually started to gather momentum. Most major manufacturers are in the process of developing their own variants and all are hoping to be the first with a breakthrough. Positive forecasts speak of a quadrupling of sales to about 140 billion in 2017. Bengt-Arne Molin, Head of Sony Mobile in Lund, Sweden with 1,800 employees and 400 contracted consultants is optimistic about the future .