Sony is developing a smartwatch made out of e-paper, a display technology designed to mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper, according to a Bloomberg report. The device is expected to be released in 2015.
The wearable will use e-paper for the face as well as the wristband, allowing the entire surface area to function as a display and change its appearance. The idea behind such a design stems from Sony's newfound desire to emphasize on style and customizability rather than functionality, the report claims.
In that vein it's worth noting that e-paper technology has some well-known downsides. For example, displays based on the technology suffer from much lower refresh rates, something which makes them less suitable for high-tech devices, like smartwatches that often have rapidly changing interfaces.
The e-paper watch is one of the first products to come out of a new business division which was formed by the company's Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai with an aim to fast-track promising products. "Hirai’s new division is aiming to come up with products and services that don’t fit the mold of Sony’s existing businesses," the report said.
The division also includes Sony’s Seed Acceleration Program, which was announced earlier this year with an aim to allow employees with innovative ideas to make their proposals either to other employees or to a panel of outside experts, and receive venture financing. The report says that the company received 187 applications in the first round, which was held in June, of which 80 passed to the next stage.