Friday 22 March 2019

Times is money: Sony launches new Wena smartwatch system in Ireland that can measure fitness, and even pay for things

The Wena smartwatch from Sony
The Wena smartwatch from Sony
The Wena smartwatch from Sony
The Wena smartwatch from Sony
The Wena smartwatch from Sony
The Wena smartwatch from Sony
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Want a smartwatch but still wedded to your beloved analogue wristwatch? Sony has come up with a novel answer.

Its new Wena wearable is a smart band that can measure your fitness, give you notifications, and even pay for things, while being attached to a traditional watch face.

The digital straps use a quick clasp, in varying sizes, to latch on to a traditional watch. The underside of the strap then shows you your notifications (including calls, mail and app notifications) on a narrow one or two line display.

These can be customised with different lighting and vibration settings.

It also measures fitness, with a step counter and estimating calories burned. The Wena wrist active version has GPS tracking and heart-rate sensors, too.

It can also be used as a contactless payment device (in Ireland using KBC bank). It pairs with either an iPhone or an Android handset.

Sony claims that paying for things is easier using the strap than with an existing smartwatch because you don’t need to “twist your wrist” to tap the face onto the terminal. This, the company believes, is “uncomfortable and unnatural” for many.

The payments technology is being done with MasterCard and NXP.

KBC Bank is the first Irish bank to get on board with the new product’s payment technology.KBC debit and credit card customers will be able to pay for goods and services with a tap of their wrist using a Wena strap.

To add a KBC debit or credit card, a KBC customer has to download the Wena app and follow the prompts.

Meanwhile, Wirecard will be the launch issuer for the UK and Ireland.

In the same way that exists for other wearables, Wirecard’s ‘Boon’ app for iOS and Android can be used to add a virtual card to the Wena app and set up automatic top-ups.

If you want to go the whole hog with Sony, there are also five different watch face options available.

The two strap options are metal and silicone.

The metal strap, called the Wena wrist pro, comes in both silver and black and measures 20mm in width 18mm, 20mm and 22mm lug attachment options included. This means that it can fit most traditional watch faces, regardless of how large or small the actual face is.

The Wena wrist pro has e-money, simple activity logging and notifications.

The silicone Wena wrist active edition does a bit more. As well as GPS and heart rate sensors, it has Apple health and Google fit app integration. It has the same sized lugs as the Wena wrist pro.

The Wena wrist pro straps cost €449 in either black or silver while the wrist active strap costs €399. The Wena watch heads cost from €120 to €520.

Online Editors

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