It's a far cry from the futuristic watch-phone worn by comic-strip detective Dick Tracy. But, Sony Ericsson is offering one way to wear your love of Android phones on your sleeve -- or at least your wrist -- with a new gadget called LiveView.
Nano The Above
The Bluetooth enabled LiveView device, roughly the size and shape of an iPod Nano, with a 1.3-inch OLED display, syncs with smartphones powered by Google's Android 2.0 or higher to allow text messages, RSS feeds, missed calls, appointments and other data, including Tweets and Facebook notifications to flow to the device, which comes with a clip or wristband. It also controls music selections, allowing volume adjustment, play, pause and skip while displaying the current title.
Sony Ericsson will soon add a LiveView Manager to the Android Market to present compatible apps. The device has two hard keys on top and four soft-keys on a touch-pane below the screen.
The LiveView device can connect with a phone from up to 33 feet away. Sony has yet to announce the exact release date in the fourth quarter of this year, or the price. "There is probably no price that will make this class of device mainstream, so it needs to be something of an impulse buy," says consumer devices analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis. "Anything over $100 is too much."
And while carriers often offer deals on bundles, including Bluetooth headsets and chargers, Greengart explained that, "Carriers have not done a good job with accessory bundles in the past, as they are more focused on service revenues and reducing [customer] churn. Hence, the popularity of buy-one-get-one offers, and relative dearth of BOG-Bluetooth headset deals." Therefore, Greengart does not expect carriers to give LiveView a major push.
Sony Ericsson says the device lets you "Take control of your phone without ever taking it out."
But with cell phones increasingly becoming an extension of the human hand -- to the point that even belt clips seem out of vogue -- LiveView may be a tough sell.
Is 'Cool' Enough?
"Companion devices have a naturally limited market," said Greengart. "But I sure want one," he said, with reference to the new LiveView gadget. "First of all, it's cool. But if that isn't reason enough, there are cases when this is useful, similar to Sony Ericsson's Bluetooth watches, which vibrate and display CallerID when a call comes in. You can leave your phone on silent, attend a meeting and appear to be merely looking at your watch, when in fact you are reading SMS, [a text message] or deciding whether to take a call."
It can also come in handy at the gym or while jogging. With an application like SportyPal Pro, LiveView can display elapsed minutes, speed, heart rate, climb or other statistics. The company plans to offer the LiveView in an "Experience Pack" that also includes SportyPal Pro.
In another practical application, LiveView helps you locate the phone when it has gone missing. And yes... it can also tell the time.
Posted: 2010-10-06 @ 6:40am PT
I like it. I've got an MBW-150 and the vibrating alert+text messaging and 40+ functions using third party software from Smartmadsoft are awesome. Does the LiveView really have vibrating alert?