The rumour mill is spinning at a rate of knots ahead of IFA 2014, which kicks off later this week, and the latest nugget of info to emerge from the wearable tech whispers is that the Sony SmartWatch 3 may come rocking Android Wear.
That's according to a report on 9to5google, who state that the smartwatch sequel will shun the Sony-modified Android platform that was used on the two previous SmartWatch models and instead turn to the real Google deal in the form of the search giant's official smartwatch OS.
Must download: Best Sony SmartWatch 3 apps
It's purported that the device will boast a 1.68-inch 320 x 320 display and will pack IP58 waterproofing skills.
The report states it will be unveiled alongside another new Sony wearable - the Sony SmartBand Talk - which is said to be packing an e-ink display and Bluetooth connectivity.
Sony was one of the first companies to throw its hat into the smartwatch ring, but so far it has struggled to grab the imagination – and, more importantly, hard-earned cash – of the masses.
Essential reading: Best Sony SmartWatch apps
Despite its two previous lacklustre releases, Sony is still a major contender in the smartwatch market. Now that the age of the smartwatch is upon us, its time for Sony's third attempt, and a prime opportunity to make its mark on the wearable market. We along with the rest of the tech world, are getting a little itchy to find out what's been happening behind Sony's closed doors. Here's what we know so far…
IFA release looks likely
According to tech forum Digi-Wo, Sony will announce the SmartWatch 3 at IFA 2014, with the report stating that the device will maintain the square screen of its predecessors and stick to Sony's OS rather than adopting Android Wear. This obviously clashes with what 9to5google is claiming.
The former report also claimed the screen will have improved visibility and sharpness, even in darker conditions, with a higher resolution screen than its predecessor.
The most exciting new feature reported is a built-in Wi-Fi module: Digi-Wo's story claims this allows the smartwatch to operate completely independently of the smartphone it's partnered to.
This is a significant improvement on the Sony SmartWatch 2, which required settings and full messages read only on the smartphone and drained the phone's battery. The SmartWatch 3 is also rumoured to support wireless charging, eliminating the need for any sockets or jacks and thus enhancing the water and dust-proofing of the device.
An accidental leak?
We may have already seen the Sony SmartWatch 3 – a mysterious smartwatch appeared in an advert for the SmartBand Summer School app on Sony's Facebook page. Along with a never-before-seen tablet, which looks suspiciously to be the forthcoming Z3 Compact, appears to be a smartwatch that looks like an updated SmartWatch 2.
Wareable verdict: Sony SmartWatch 3 review
The photo prompted speculation that it might have been an accident, but in reality, it's simply a tease for the latest model, which could appear as early as next week at IFA 2014 in Berlin.
The devices are also set next to a swimming pool, strongly suggesting that both new devices will be waterproof.
To Wear or not to Wear
It isn't just 9to5google banging the Android Wear Sony SmartWatch 3 drum. A tweet posted from @SonyMobileNews claimed the "door's not closed" to Android Wear, and that it's still "early days".
An official statement was later released, saying Sony was working closely with Google “as a key partner" and that it was looking at “a number of possibilities across a number of areas".
While this doesn't make any promises, it's left the potential of an Android Wear-Sony device wide open, which is a different tone to the one set by Sony earlier this year.
What we want to see
Several reviews have criticised the screen for being non-responsive and the overall responsiveness. An upgrade of the touch sensors and the extremely limited 180MHz processor would ensure the device performs simple tasks quicker than reaching for your smartphone.
The lightness of the SmartWatch 2 was a big plus, as the ability to swap the strap with any other 24mm number, and it's pretty customisable in terms of notifications and alerts. Hopefully with its next smartwatch release, we'll see some key improvements that'll set Sony at the forefront of the market.
Make sure you check back for all the latest news and updates on the Sony SmartWatch 3.
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