“Sony Corp. is developing a watch made out of electronic paper for release as soon as next year in a trial of the company’s new venture-style approach to creating products, according to people familiar with the matter,” Pavel Alpeyev and Grace Huang report for Bloomberg. “The watch’s face and wrist band will be made from a patented material that allows the entire surface area to function as a display and change its appearance, the people said, asking not to be named because it hasn’t been announced. The device will emphasize style, rather than trying to outdo more technological offerings like Apple Inc.’s watch and Sony’s own SmartWatch, they said.”
“At stake is more than a win against Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. A decade of cost reductions and job cuts has soured Sony’s culture of innovation, once celebrated for the Walkman and the Trinitron television,” Alpeyev and Huang report. “Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai formed a business creation division this year under his direct control to fast-track promising products, and the watch is one of the effort’s first results.”
“The e-paper watch will be a litmus test for Sony’s new division. Though the market for wearable technology is still small, with only 22 million of the gadgets sold worldwide this fiscal year, the industry is set to grow fivefold in the next five years, according to MM Research Institute Ltd.,” Alpeyev and Huang report. “Hirai has struggled to turn the company around as he faces rising competition in mobile phones and games, and soft demand for televisions and cameras. Sony is set to pile up more than 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion) of losses since 2010.”
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