CES 2015: Sony Unveils Stainless Steel SmartWatch 3, new 128GB Hi-Res Walkman and new UHD TVs!

sw3-metal

When Sony announced the SmartWatch 3, it kept its typical smartwatch design language but ditched its own OS in favor of the Android Wear platform. Of course not everyone was keen on Sony’s design language for the watch, and so it looks like Sony is hoping to appeal to even more users by introducing a new variant of the SW3 that offers a stainless steel chassis.

Beyond the change up of chassis, the watch is pretty much identical to the original model packing integrated GPS, a Snapdragon processor and so forth. It is worth noting, however, that the IP rating has dropped here from 58 to IP68, meaning it’s not quite as water resistant as before. The only other real change is support for changing out watch bands, something the original SW3 model lacked.

03 SmartWatch3 colour range

If you already bought a Smartwatch 3 and are sore about not having the ability to change out your band, you might be cheered up a bit to know that Sony will introduce a replacement shell that lets you connect any 24 mm strap that you want. Of course to get this ability you’ll have to pay for the adopter, officially called the Smartwatch 3 holder.

Sony intends to launch the steel SmartWatch 3 sometime in February with the Smartwatch 3 Holder coming sometime after that. No pricing or exact release date has been revealed, though we’ll be sure to update you as soon as we know more.

Turning to the SmartBand SWR10, we’re looking at design changes an nothing more, and not for the standard model, either. Instead, Sony has developed a limited edition model in collaboration women’s fashion brand ROXY. The cobalt blue wristband also has a curvy shape, unlike the original it is based on.

Sony’s new 128GB Hi-Res Walkman offers excellent audio, for a price

Sony Walkman NW SX2 aa

CES 2015 is well underway, at least the press releases are, with all the major players introducing great new products all day. Sony has a great selection of new and updated gear to be proud of, and on the personal audio front they have introduced a new 128GB Walkman Hi-Res Digital Music Player NW-ZX2.

The new Walkman is an Android powered device with a 4-inch TRILUMINOS touchscreen, WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC. That 128GB or internal storage is matched by a microSD expansion slot and battery life is projected at 60 hours while playing MP3 titles, down to 33 hours when playing Hi-res audio.

Audio support is an exhaustive list, including the most popular audio formats that are not protected by copyright. MP3 support runs the gamut of the audio type, with this 60 hours of battery expected with MP3 files at 128kbps. Hi-Res audio includes FLAC, Apple Lossless and AIFF running at up to 192Khz at 24bit.

In addition to the list of supported file types, Sony has highlighted a list of key features, including the S-Master HX digital amplifier, DSEE HX (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), ClearAudio+, Clear Bass, VPT, an equalizer and more. You are also open to install your favorite media player from the Google Play Store as well, thanks to it running Android as an OS.

By all accounts, Sony has a killer audiophile device here, but you aren’t going to buy the NW-SX2. Your favorite audiophile is probably not going to buy this unit either. Why, you ask? Let me explain.

Sony Walkman NW SX2 store

In the world of Android, most devices strive to launch or update to the latest release of the OS. While this is usually pretty important for your phone or tablet, Sony has a different perspective when it comes to this Walkman NW-SX2, as the unit will ship with Android 4.2 Jellybean.

OK, Android Jellybean is something you may shake your head at and overlook, it isn’t a phone after all. I figured you might say that, so I saved my best argument for last. You and most people out there are not going to purchase the Sony Walkman NW-SX2 because of its price tag. Take a guess. Nope, higher. Higher. That’s right, the ‘best’ personal audio device that Sony has to offer will run you $1200.

Oh, and it does not come with headphones, you’ll need to buy those separately. Head on over to the Sony website for more details.

Android 5.0 Lollipop set to roll out to Sony Xperia Z3 next month

sony xperia z3 review (4 of 26)

We already new that Sony would be bringing Android 5.0 Lollipop to the “core” Xperia Z2 and Z3 lines in early 2015, with the first whispers of this time frame surfacing in October with Sony finally confirming the news in December. Up until now, the Japanese smartphone maker hasn’t been too specific on exactly when the Lollipop rollout will happen. Sony still hasn’t given us an exact date, but they have revealed the update will begin rolling out to the Xperia Z3 next month.

It’s unclear how much longer it will take for the update to reach other members of the Z3 and Z2 family, though it’s still nice to hear that Sony is committed to bringing Lollipop sooner rather than later. We’ll be sure to update you as soon as we learn more specifics of their plans.

All of Sony’s new smart TVs run on Android TV

CEO Kaz Hirai just announced that the company’s new smart TVs will run on Google’s new platform for television, Android TV. The remote control for the TV is essentially a giant trackpad, so that you can navigate the Android TV interface more easily. The remote also comes with a microphone, to make searching easier. Because they run Android, they’ll also all support Google Cast, so it will be easier to fling content from your phone to the TV.

It’s not the first time that Sony has bet on Google to help with its living room bets, but we all know what happened to Google TV in years past (it failed). Android TV, however, has a much better chance of success, if only because it’s less ambitious and therefore has fewer ways to fail. Basically, it does the things you expect from a smart TV and does them better and with a nicer interface than most smart TVs, so it’s an easy win. Theoretically, at least, because we’re not going to say the curse of Google’s living room failures have lifted until we’ve tried it.

The biggest hurdle, for now, still seems to be reliable 4K delivery. From the looks of things, Sony has decided against other options like curved displays or next-generation technology like Quantum Dot, too. Instead, it has put its full force into a pretty deep line of 4K sets that can fit in a small bedroom or look good in a home theater setup.

sony tv thin

SONY BETS ON GOOGLE, AGAIN

Sony is announcing no fewer than 11 Bravia LCD TVs from 43 up to 75 inches, including some that are only 4.9mm thick at its thinnest point. That’s .2 inches, if you’re imperial, but no matter what system you use it’s thin, as you can see in the image below. We’re still not completely sold on the necessity of pushing (squeezing?) televisions in this direction, but you can’t deny that it’s a technical achievement.

Sony is powering its smart TVs with its own processor, called the “4K Processors X1.” Rather than explain why every product name has to have either an X or a 1 in it, Sony touted its ability to improve the color accuracy on its “Triluminos” display.

Models should become available in the Spring.

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