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Xperia Ear: Sony reinvents the original wearable

Sony Xperia Ear

The much-maligned Bluetooth headset receives a smart makeover with the Xperia Ear

The standout device in Sony’s MWC press conference was undoubtedly what appears to be a Bluetooth headset – the Experia Ear. Now Bluetooth headsets haven’t exactly had the best press, after all anything with immediate associations to estate agents and salespeople in general is going to struggle as being regarded as cool. Your average person would never use one outside of the privacy of their own car. And that’s surprising given how much hype and praise has been heaped on other wearable technology in recent years.

The Xperia Ear though is much more than just a way to talk with your hands free though. Sony’s new earpiece is all about getting your eyes away from the screen, looking up and taking in the world, rather than down at your phone all the time. And that’s an ambition that’s really hard to scoff at.Sony Xperia Ear lifestyle

The earpiece can of course route calls and it has a microphone, but Sony is primarily positioning it as a way to cut down on checking all those notifications. Messages, calendar alerts and all that, will now be delivered to the earpiece as spoken messages, and using voice recognition you can respond to them if you choose.

Cleverly the earpiece actually knows when it’s in your ear, so it can tell whether to send messages there or alert on the phone as per usual. That also means it can update you on what’s been going on when you put the earpiece back in after a period away. It will inform you of missed calls and ask if you want to call back as well.

Navigation is also featured, giving you turn-by-turn directions to your ear. That’s nothing special of course, but the Xperia Ear lets you set your destination as well via voice commands. Most of this stuff can be done using Google Now or Siri and an earpiece of course, so it’ll be interesting to see if Sony’s hardware and software can do a better job.

The Xperia Ear comes with a neat little case that also integrates a charger, so you can pop it away and charge it at the same time, presumably from a built-in battery pack that you top-up from the mains when you get home.

It’s an interesting little device and one that maybe could revitalise the use of earpieces, after all they aren’t as intrusive as Google Glass, which the company seems to have dropped as a consumer concept. We’ll be wearing the Xperia Ear as soon as possible and giving it a real-world test.

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