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Sony's new 'smart' accessories borrow ideas from Motorola and Amazon

Sony's new 'smart' accessories borrow ideas from Motorola and Amazon


An earpiece, life-logging camera, projector, and personal assistant round out Sony's idea of the future of communication

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Sony announced a line of new accessories at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, with the Xperia Ear, a new wireless earpiece, chief among them. The Xperia Ear is similar to Motorola's Moto Hint: it's a small Bluetooth device that provides "useful information such as your schedule, weather and the latest news" in your ear. It can be controlled via voice commands to make calls, perform searches, dictate messages, or get directions.

The Xperia Ear will connect to a smartphone via NFC and Bluetooth and is controlled with a companion smartphone app. An included case doubles as a charger, offering up to three full charges that provide up to four hours of talk time. The Ear feels like a well-made device, but the use cases aren't incredibly convincing. Simply being told when you're getting an incoming message isn't much less distracting than having it pop on your phone screen. Sony says the device will be available this summer at a to-be-announced price.

In addition to the earpiece, Sony also announced three concept devices: the Xperia Eye, a 360 degree life-logging camera; the Xperia Projector that projects a touch-enabled interface on any wall; and the Xperia Agent, a voice and gesture controlled device that Sony describes as a "vision for a personalized assistant."

Sony Xperia Agent

Sony Xperia Agent concept

The Projector and the Agent extend the Ear's smart capabilities, and are supposed to provide you with contextual information throughout the day. The Agent is a fixed device with both a camera and projector — it seems to be similar to the Amazon Echo with the ability to project information on the wall. It can identify people and greet them with voice and control smart home products, such as lights.

The Projector, meanwhile, looks designed to sit on the side of a room and throw useful information up onto the wall. The primary screen Sony showed at WMC was a clock face with calendar events and weather, but there was also more detailed calendar and photo apps available. The interface seemed pretty easy to use (although tapping and swiping a wall is definitely going to leave a mark), but the main drawback of the device was how dim the projector was. Sony did not say if or when the smart accessory concepts would make it to production.

Sony Xperia Projector

Sony Xperia Projector concept

Sony Xperia Eye

Sony Xperia Eye concept

Sony Xperia Ear

Sony Xperia Ear

Sony Xperia Ear

Sony Xperia Ear