At Mobile World Congress early in 2016, Sony showed off a concept "smart product", a Bluetooth headset that wants to be your personal assistant.
Sony has pushed forward with this concept, confirming that the Xperia Ear will be available to buy from November 2016 in select markets.
This is more than just a Bluetooth headset. Connected to an app on your smartphone, the Xperia Ear aims to move you from an eyes down relationship with your phone, to one where you can keep your head up, but stay connected.
It does this through smart interaction. We got the chance to run through a simple demo that showed off answering questions with a shake of the head, using motion detection, rather than relying solely on voice interaction like any number of other systems like Google Assistant or Siri.
The idea is that Xperia Ear can inform you of things, let you manage your communication, in a way that regular Bluetooth headsets never could: this isn't just about voice and taking calls, it's about a full range of interactivity with your phone, using Sony Agent Technology.
Our demo was brief and the scope of it didn't run too wide, but we can't help feeling that it isn't a huge leap forward: smartwatches have tried to save us from our phones and failed. Google Glass tried to provide an alternative and now we're looking at another wearable that returns to a form factor many have decided they don't like.
In some ways, Xperia Ear is pretty cool, giving you that secret agent vibe, but on the other hand, we can't help feeling that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Xperia Ear will be available in November, there's no word on pricing.
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