Sony has created a watch made from e-paper, a technology similar to that used in e-book readers, such as the Amazon Kindle.
The so-called Fes Watch has a battery that can last for 60 days, much longer than the majority of smartwatches currently on the market. However, it is lacking in features when compared to its rivals, and the design is rather minimalist. Even so, this clever technology allows users to choose several different styles of watch face and strap, making the look and feel of the watch highly customisable.
Retro and cool
Stuart Miles, a gadget expert from Pocket-lint, has described the watch as “retro and cool”. He believes that next year fashion will influence the wearable tech industry and help shape it further.
Electronic paper displays work by reflecting light rather than omitting it. This means the screen is easier on the eyes and can be read from a wider viewing angle compared with many light-emitting displays. It also has a much longer battery due to the fact it uses a low amount of power – indeed, no power at all is used when the image is not changing.
Sony purposely hid the fact it was developing an e-paper watch with a spin-off division, called Fashion Entertainments, working on the device instead. It even ran a crowdfunding campaign to fund the project, to see just how interested the public would be in this kind of technology. The campaign raised 3.5 million yen, equivalent to £19,000.
Fashion Entertainments is now working on a number of wearable e-paper gadgets, including bow ties, glasses and shoes. Although e-paper has its limitations regarding what it can and can’t display, Mr Miles does not believe this will present a major obstacle to sale, since most people only want a watch to tell the time. He pointed out that one of the most popular smartwatches, the Pebble, uses e-paper too.