At the end of the Sony press conference at IFA 2015 in Berlin, the company's CEO Kazuo Hirai mentioned a new smartwatch it was working on going by the name of Wena. It launched earlier this week on Sony's First Flight crowdfunding platform and it is part of the Seed Acceleration Program, sitting alongside various other products such as last-year's FES Watch.
The program allows Sony's employees to promote their ideas through the platform, where backers can support, reserve and purchase the ideas. A little like Kickstarter, but a Sony version.
The Sony Wena approaches things a little differently to the current smartwatch offering, integrating the smart features into the metal bracelet rather than the watch face.
It looks every bit like a traditional analogue watch, but the Sony Wena smartwatch, which will only be available in Japan to start with, although that isn't to say it couldn't eventually travel further, has three functions. It monitors activity through a range of sensors, delivers notifications through a customisable seven-colour LED light and vibrations, and it can perform e-payments thanks to an NFC chip.
The latter function is one of the reasons why it will be limited in availability to begin with as it only supports the Japanese system FeliCa at the moment. We were told that it was hoping to support PayPal and Visa's payWave in the future though.
In terms of design, the Wena smartwatch is lovely and it is immediately obvious there has been input from a watch brand – in the case of the Wena it's Citizen. The device is smart in both senses of the word, elegant, and on first glance you really wouldn't think it did anything special other than tell you the time.
The Wena is pretty weighty with the bodies weighing between 55g and 72.5g while the bracelets hit the scales at around 80g. It looks great on and it is comfortable, which is always a bonus.
The watch face and the watch strap are considered separate in the case of the Wena. The bracelet is made from stainless steel 316L, is IPX5 and IPX7 water resistant, supports iOS 8.0 or later and it is said to have a battery life of one week.
The watch body on the other hand is also made from stainless steel 316L, is water resistant to 3 bar but the hands are said to have a three-year battery life, while the chronograph is said to have a five year life.
The Sony Wena smartwatch will go on sale in Japan in March 2016. The FES watch was also on display at IFA 2015, alongside a smart lock called Qrio, although there was no further information on the latter. You can head to the gallery if you're interested in seeing what the e-paper watch and the lock look like.