Here’s to Your Health: Sony Unveils SmartBand 2

The race among a crowded market of activity-tracking devices just got a new contender as Sony today unveiled its latest smart band designed to monitor the health and fitness of users. SonyEUs SmartBand 2 tracker includes a heart rate monitor that can register and display cardio data as long as the user feels like wearing it. Along with pulse, it measures heart rate variability, movements and quality of sleep.

The product can also count steps and even monitor stress level, according to Sony. SmartBand 2 is compatible with Android 4.4 and iOS 8.2 devices. Once paired with a device running one of those operating systems, SmartBand 2 can notify its user when an alarm, a message or a call arrives using vibrations or a series of LED lights. The SmartBand 2 can also be used to control media playback or the camera on the userEUs mobile device.

Standout Product?

The new Sony product runs an ARM Cortex-M0 32-bit processor, and comes with 256 KB internal embedded flash memory and 32 KB of RAM. The module and wristband measure not quite 10 inches in length, and weigh just under an ounce.

The SmartBand 2 also comes with a standard micro-USB port for charging. It takes just over an hour to take a full charge, after which it can run for up to two days, Sony said.

All nice features, but are they enough to make SmartBand 2 stand out in a crowded and competitive activity tracker market? We reached out to Chris Jones, vice president and principal analyst at Canalys, who told us the SmartBand 2 might end up standing in a very tall shadow.

"Fitbit dominates the fitness tracker market, and had to increase manufacturing capacity this year to cope with the demand for its new products, especially the Charge HR," said Jones. "So vendors need...

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