Sony rolls out SmartWatch software update, brings new watch faces, notifications and more

sony smartwatchWith Samsung this week confirming that its designers and developers have for some time been working on creating a high-tech wristwatch, and multiple rumors suggesting that rival Apple is pushing ahead with its so-called iWatch project, it could be just a matter of months before the smartwatch industry goes big-time.

A few companies already have a  such a watch on the market – Pebble, for example, started shipping its device at the start of the year, while Sony has been selling its SmartWatch for nearly 12 months.

The Japanese tech giant is evidently keen to keep its device in the headlines, on Tuesday rolling out a software update for the Android-compatible watch.

A bunch of new watch faces heads the list of fresh features, described variously by Sony as retro, wacky and contemporary. You can judge that claim for yourself (below).

sony smartwatch interfaces

Notification previews have also been introduced, allowing you to see snippets of new messages, tweets and wall posts before deciding whether to dive in to read the rest. Sony says it’s also created a more efficient category search system to make it easier to discover useful apps from among the 200 or so currently available.

An improved charging cable and new wristband colors (turquoise and purple) were also announced by Sony on Tuesday. The update is available now from Google Play.

Sony launched its SmartWatch in the US almost a year ago to mixed reviews, leaving an opportunity for tech titans Samsung and Apple to step into the space.

Samsung executive Lee Young Hee said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday that his company has been working on making a smartwatch for “so long”, though he gave no indication as to when it might hit the market.

Apple, meanwhile, could have its iWatch on consumers’ wrists before the end of the year, with recent reports suggesting a team of around 100 product designers working on the device.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Product Review

What do you do with 187 megapixels? The Lumix S1R is glorious overkill

The Lumix S1R is one of the most capable cameras ever made, from its robust build to extensive feature set. But its key feature, a 187MP high resolution mode, is something few customers will have use for.
Wearables

Fossil made a smartwatch in 2004, and it’s part of a new brand retrospective

Fossil has been making watches for 35 years, and to celebrate the anniversary, it has a new retrospective exhibit complete with the first smartwatch it made — the Wrist Net watch from 2004.
Gaming

The Division 2 offers nothing but a funhouse mirror of America

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 improves on the design shortcomings of the original game in several different ways, but its version of Washington D.C. is completely removed from reality.
Gaming

Here’s all the news from the Google Stadia GDC presentation

Google announced its new game streaming service Stadia during GDC 2019. Here is all the news from the event, including news on YouTube streaming and quickly accessing your favorite new games.
Mobile

Firefox Send file-sharing service is now an Android app

Mozilla has just launched Firefox Send as an Android app. The free service lets you share files of up 2.5GB via a web link that expires after a certain period of time or number of downloads.
Mobile

Mozilla rolls out Firefox for iPad with split screen support

Mozilla released a version of Firefox that is specifically designed for Apple's iPad. The internet browser comes with several unique features for the tablet, including split screen support and unique tab management.
Mobile

The best Sony Xperia 10 Plus cases to keep your smartphone safe

It's always a smart play to safeguard your smartphone with a decent case or cover. We've identified the best Sony Xperia 10 Plus cases here, so take your pick from rugged protection to slim style.
Mobile

Here’s how to cancel subscriptions on an iPhone or an iPad

Find out how to cancel subscriptions on an iPhone or any other iOS device with this easy step-by-step guide. We'll show you where you can review your subscriptions and precisely how to cancel them.
Mobile

Scientists wreck a smartphone in a blender, but not just for fun

It’s oddly mesmerizing to watch a smartphone get torn apart inside a blender. Researchers recently did just that in a bid to find out which materials make up a handset, and also to encourage people to think more about recycling.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is minutes away: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Deals

The excellent Apple iPad gets even deeper price cuts on Amazon

The humble iPad from 2018 is still one of the best tablets around -- and a solid choice for most people. Amazon has seen some great price drops for these tablets recently, and now you can own an iPad for even less than before.
Wearables

This $76,000 Grand Seiko watch has something in common with a plug-in hybrid car

How can a watch that costs $76,000 possibly have anything in a common with any car, let alone a plug-in hybrid? It's all about the complex, technically incredible Spring Drive movement inside this Grand Seiko watch.
Mobile

More than a screenshot: How to record the screen on an Android device

If you've ever want to record video of your Android screen, there are plenty of apps that can help. Here's an easy guide on how to record the screen on an Android device with the right settings and apps.