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Sony's Fes Watch is made entirely out of e-paper

Katharine Byrne
28 Nov 2014
Sony ePaper FES Watch
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Every surface will become a display that can change appearance, with e-paper bow ties, shoes and glasses in the works as well

Sony's e-paper watch is now official. According to The Wall Street Journal, the wristband will be called the Fes Watch and it will be able to change its appearance depending on the user's gesture. It will come with 24 design patterns which can be selected manually, and The Verge is reporting that its lack of electronics will mean the battery will last for up to 60 days on an ordinary battery button. 

The Fes Watch is actually the brain child of Fashion Entertainments, a division within Sony which started a crowdfunding project for the watch back in September. It surpassed its initial goal of 2 million yen (approximately £10790) in just three weeks, and has attracted 3.5 million yen from over 150 supporters. 

However, Sony's involvement in the project had been kept a secret until now, as the team behind the watch wanted the device to be judged on its own merits. “We hid Sony’s name because we wanted to test the real value of the product, whether there will be demand for our concept,” a person involved in the project said according to the WSJ.

Sony has yet to announce a release date for the Fes Watch, but the project page says backers will be able to pre-order and receive the watch from May 2015.

Reports of Sony's new wearable first surfaced two days ago when Bloomberg claimed the company was developing a new type of watch made entirely out of e-paper, allowing both the watch face and the watch strap to act as a display and change its appearance. The device was supposedly designed to emphasise style rather than trying to compete with either the Apple Watch or Sony's own SmartWatch 3. This certainly seems to be the case, as it's also been reported that Fashion Entertainments are developing bow ties, shoes and glasses frames made out of e-paper as well. 

This isn't the first time we've seen a watch use this kind of technology, as the Pebble Smart Watch also has an e-paper display. However, we'll be interested to see how Sony plans to utilise its e-paper watch strap as part of its potential display as well as the main watch face. 

The watch is allegedly one of the first products to come out of Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai's newly formed business creative division within the company, which fast-tracks promising products and services which don't fit in with Sony's current business model. The Seed Acceleration Program was announced earlier this year and encourages employees to pitch ideas to investors both within and outside the company in the hope of receiving funding.

This news comes in the same week after Sony announced it would be streamlining its smartphone and TV line-up next year to help cut costs and improve the company's falling profits. With CES just round the corner, we could well see a first glimpse of Sony's new Fes watch on the show floor in January, but it's likely to be at least another six months before they're available on shop shelves.

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