Sony has launched an analog smartwatch on their crowdfunding site First Flight. The watch is called Wena, which stands for “wear electronics naturally.” It consists of two parts, a traditional watch face and a metal band with integrated smartwatch functionality. While not as full featured as Sony’s other smartwatches, Wena was created to be a fashion piece. It was designed by Citizen Watch Co. and is crafted from high grade stainless steel. Sony is offering two styles of the watch, a tradition 3 hand analog watch face and a chronograph face. While the Wena is sharp looking, at first glance you would never assume it was anything beyond a traditional watch. The metal link band discretely houses batteries for the electronics that have been hidden inside the deployment buckle. Wena will have 3 main “smart” functions: NFC payments, activity tracking, and notification alerts via vibrations and a LED in the buckle. The battery life of the band is approximately 1 week while the watch face will run for between 3 and 5 years (depending on the model).
While it may seem curious that a company the size of Sony would have their own crowd funding website, the company has found success with it. The idea behind First Flight is to test interest in products that Sony is unsure how the public might react to. From the looks of it, Wena is a hit. Despite a high price tag (approximately $290 to $580) Sony has reached their fundraising goal and almost every model is sold out. Wena is expected to ship next April. While the watches available via First Flight are only for the Japanese market, the success of Wena makes an international launch at some point very likely. It is fantastic that Sony has been able to utilize crowd funding to find itself again and release products that are able to excite consumers.