BERLIN – If you simply can't decide between the attractive Sony Lifelog fitness software and the versatile Android Wear smartwatch apps, you need no longer make the laborious choice. The Sony SmartWatch 3 will have full access to Google's Android Wear apps without sacrificing the lifestyle app that made Sony fitness bands so interesting.
Sony debuted the SmartWatch 3 at a press conference at IFA 2014, giving us a brief opportunity to test the wrist piece. The device is notable mostly for combining software endemic to Sony and Google's popular lineup of Android Wear apps, although it has a few other features that make it attractive to fitness buffs in particular.
Like its predecessors, the Sony SmartWatch 3 will be compatible with Sony Xperia phones; for our test, we used the newly announced Xperia Z3, although the two devices were not synced up due to software that's still in development. While there's not a tremendous amount of Sony SmartWatch-exclusive software available yet, the company will make a software development kit available later this year.
We played with the standard litany of Android Wear apps such as Google Maps and Hangouts, but Sony's Lifelog is still the star attraction. This colorful app uses a cartoonish art style and a comprehensive toolset to monitor not only your health and fitness, but your daily routine and your overall physical goals. As such, the SmartWatch 3 can monitor both how far a user walks and his or her heart rate, either at rest or during any kind of physical activity.
Sony has slated the SmartWatch 3 for an October release, although it has not revealed a price just yet. While its price and performance will ultimately determine its desirability, fans of Android Wear who want a little something extra in the software department would be wise to keep an eye on this one.