Sony’s SmartBand Talk isn’t the first time we’ve seen E-Ink on your arm, but it’s probably one of the most interesting. The company’s second wearable for IFA – the first being the SmartWatch 3 – doesn’t run Android Wear like its sibling, but it does throw in some Dick Tracy style functionality like being able to conduct phone calls from your wrist.
The 1.4-inch curved e-paper display is, as we’re familiar from ereaders like the Kindle, always-on thanks to its low power demands. As with the SmartWatch 3 it’s IP68 resilient to water and dust, meaning you can keep wearing it while swimming or showering.
However, what makes it a little unusual is the integrated microphone and speaker. That basically turns it into a Bluetooth speakerphone you wear on your wrist, and though it’s probably not the sort of thing you want to use to hold personal conversations on, it could be handy while you’re driving.
Meanwhile voice controls can be used to trigger things like calling certain contacts or switching functionality, and the SmartBand Talk supports recording custom commands too. You could use your mom’s name to call her, for instance.
Sony says it’ll recognize US and UK English, French, Germany, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese at launch. It proved too noisy in Sony’s demo area to try that out properly, but we’ll be putting it through its paces for our review.
There’s no GPS but you do get an accelerometer and altimeter for tracking activity, and it’s a compact design which fits snugly and comfortably around the wrist. Sony will be offering it in black initially, when the SmartBand Talk goes on sale this fall for €159, though other colors – like the white and pink the company showed us today – will follow on in due course.