Sony has announced a new range of Wena smart watchstraps that it hopes will appeal to traditional watch loyalists. If you want the features of a smartwatch or fitness tracker but don't like the idea of giving up your current watch, you can instead attach a Wena strap to it. There are two models, the silicone Wena Active and the metal Wena Pro, aimed at those who want options to match formal and sporty watches respectively. If you don't mind getting a whole new watch but would prefer the look and feel of a traditional one, you can also choose one of Sony's own Wena watch heads.
All the electronics for the smart functionality, including sensors, a small display, and a battery, are contained within the clasps of the Sony Wena straps. The two models are different in terms of features as well as looks – the Wena Active includes a GPS receiver and heart rate monitor, and can be worn independently just like a fitness tracker, including while sleeping. However, both versions can track steps taken and calories burned.
Both models support contactless payments. Sony's Wena Pay platform has been developed in partnership with Mastercard, NXP and Wirecard. The two-line display shows calls and other notifications from a paired smartphone, and users can customise vibration and LED lighting in seven colours for quick recognition.
The Wena watch heads and straps are designed to be interchangeable. Sony has designed a variety of analog watches including solar-powered and chronograph models. Both straps will come with 18mm, 20mm and 22mm watch lugs so they can be attached to a variety of watches. The Wena Pro strap is water resistant to 5ATM while the Wena Active can handle up to 3ATM.
Sony has launched the Wena range exclusively in the UK for now, with no word as to wider availability. The Wena Active strap is priced at GBP 349, while the Wena Pro strap in black or silver will cost GBP 399. The Wena watches will sell for between GBP 100 and GBP 450. The range is already available for pre-orders, and the company is offering its basic Three Hands watch head for free with all strap purchases as an introductory offer.
The name Wena is an abbreviation for Wear Electronics Naturally. The idea for these devices came from a Sony employee who took advantage of the company's internal Seed Acceleration Programme, which aims to tap ideas that wouldn't fit into any of Sony's existing product category or business vertical. Sony's announcement did not name the employee or describe his or her job role.