Sony Corp. is developing a smartwatch that actually sounds interesting. It uses e-paper for its face and wristband, which allows the whole surface of the device to change its look and function as a display, according to unnamed sources speaking to Bloomberg.
It's one of the many new things the Japanese firm is trying out to reinvigorate its business. E-paper technology is currently used in a number of devices, such Amazon's Kindle e-reader and the $99 Pebble smartwatch.
It’s a scaled-back approach to wearable tech compared to products from Apple and Motorola, which pack cutting-edge display technology in their latest devices. Sony instead plans to focus on the design and appearance of the device, an approach taken by a number of manufacturers, most recently Intel, with its MICA fashion accessory.
The move is one of many changes happening at Sony as it looks to increase its profits by scaling back its failing divisions as well as finding new ways to innovate. The firm announced Tuesday that it would reduce its smartphone and television product offerings to focus on its PlayStation 4 and its image sensors, some of which have found their way into a number of smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
While Sony puts most of its focus on those divisions, it will also be exploring new prospects through a division created this year to develop new products outside of Sony’s current business lineup, in a startup-venture fashion.
The wearable device market is still in its infancy, with an estimated 22 million units shipped by the end of 2014, according to CCS Insight. That market is expected to grow to as high as 135 million by 2018.
Here's International Business Times Business Editor John Simons on CNBC handicapping its prospects: