(Pocket-lint) - Sony first unveiled Wena in 2015, the product of Sony's startup incubator in Japan - called Seed Acceleration Program - and looking to provide an alternative route to getting smart functions on your wrist. Wena stands for Wear Electronics NAturally.
Now, in 2019, Sony has seen fit to globally release two new Wena versions. The aim is to provide a better experience for wearable smart tech; rather than providing you with a complete smartwatch Wena is the strap, the idea being that you can then fit it to your existing watch.
On a basic level, Wena provides many of the connected functions that mobile users want - payments, step and sleep tracking, notifications - but without having a damp squib of a watch as part of the package.
The two variants of the Wena are the Wena Pro and Wena Active.
The Wena Pro is a 316L stainless steel band - also available in black - that comes with attachments for 18, 20 or 22mm watches. The idea is that you connect the strap to your own watch, so you can have smart functions when wearing your Rolex, for example.
The strap in this instance is smart, with the battery and other connectivity elements in the band itself, and the clasp offering a small OLED display as well as contact charging points. You simply swap out the band on your existing watch and away you go. It's waterproofed to 5ATM too.
If you don't have a watch, there are a range of watch faces that Wena also offer, from mechanical, through to battery powered - although you'll have to buy these separately. Sony's intention is very much that you upgrade an existing device.
The Wena Pro costs £399 - the price of a full smartwatch.
The second version is the Wena Active. This takes a slightly different tack with a rubberised sports band. This version has heart rate sensors as well as GPS, looking to give you all your exercise stats. It's slightly larger, but again will allow you to attach a conventional watch to the strap with provided quick release fasteners.
Aside from those elements that the Wena Pro offers - notifications etc - the Active can then just be worn as a fitness tracker. You can detach the watch face and put it somewhere safe, then head out with no worry that you're wearing your £3000 watch.
The Wena Active will cost £349 and comes with adapters in the box for your watch in 18, 20 and 22mm. It is only available in black.
In both cases, you'll need a smartphone connection for notifications and to sync the data, with support for Google Fit and Apple Health.
When it comes to payments, there isn't a huge amount of support. In the UK it will only support Boon, but you'll then be able to tap and go. Naturally, it’s a slight disadvantage compared to Apple Watch or a device that supports Google Pay, but it's not an insurmountable problem.
The new Wena straps will be available to pre-order from 13 February in the UK.