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Sony has been surprisingly quiet on the smartwatch front since launching its SmartWatch 2. But now that the Galaxy Gear is gaining steam (or at the very least, getting a hell of a lot of advertising airtime) they've set out to put a little extra oomph in their Xperia-styled digital watch. A quick update to the Android app on the Google Play Store has given the device a few expanded capabilities.

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First of all, yes, you get some new watch faces for your watch. Sadly Sony declined to actually show any of the new watchfaces in the screenshots, and we don't have a hardware unit to test, so we'll have to take their word for it. Other new features include a stopwatch (which really should have been there from the start), larger font sizes, and the usual "bug fixes" and "improved stability."

But the biggest additions relate to the core functionality of the smartwatch: notifications. You can now scroll through the notifications on the watch quickly, plus there's a scroll bar to mark your progress. If you've got a bit of inbox overload you can mark all notifications as read from the action button in any relevant notification. Finally, and perhaps the most important from a usability standpoint, the SmartWatch 2 will now automatically dim or brighten its screen to react to the ambient light, just like any smartphone.

The app itself is compatible with Android 4.0 or later, and Sony's SmartWatch 2 is compatible with phones or tablets from any manufacturer. Including Samsung.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Gerjannn

    It's a pretty cool thing, but I'm too happy with my Pebble. The customization of Pebble is so much greater and the development is way more awesome!

    • annon

      It's a shame the hardware isn't more polished. Looking forward to v2

  • Ibrahim Yusuf

    "including Samsung", I loled

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

      Sony should've excluded Samsung and Samsung only.
      If they want a smartwatch only compatible with (select) Samsung devices, they don't deserve smartwatches from other companies :)

      • Opinion

        IMO,there more device it compatible,the more ppl might able to buy it,more profit company made

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

          Better compatibility does make the Sony brand more reliable in my opinion.

  • http://playdreamcreate.com/ Miguel Angel

    Smartwatch 2 : Get rid of "Sony" logo. Make capacitive icons smaller. And it'll be perfect.

    • dextersgenius

      And reduce the size! That thing is massive.

      • Tghosh

        Have you seen the sw2 in person? Its not "massive" at all. I have small wrists amd the sw2 looks very good on me.

        • dextersgenius

          Pics please? I've got small wrists as well so the size is my main concern with the sw2. I would love to check it out in person but unfortunately it's not available in any retail stores nearby so I'd have to order it online.

  • WatchKzy

    Now, it has 10 watchfaces. Below is my favorite.

    • dextersgenius

      That is so huge.. And I thought the Galaxy Gear was big, low.

    • John Smith

      Is that a large watch or are you just happy to see me ?
      The armband could do with some metal studs ;-)

    • Sarav

      Mine too

    • WatchKzy

      It's not that big comparing to my other watches.

    • Daniel Recktenwald

      cool, how do you change them?

      My app updated, but I dont see anything

  • Cesar

    "and Sony's SmartWatch 2 is compatible with phones or tablets from any manufacturer. Including Samsung."

    This alone makes it 100x more valuable than Galaxy Gear. Good job Sony.

  • HolyFreakingCrap

    Is this the best Smartwatch available? I dont want anything samsung.

    • Daniel Recktenwald

      It is the mid tier solution. Prettier than pebble not as functional as gear

  • Garry DeWitt

    Love my sw2 and I'm happy they're getting around to improving stability. Used to have a crash once a week which kind ducked. Hopefully this fixes that. I'm glad they're keeping up apport for the device.

  • mike

    Everyone is calling this Sony's second watch. I thought there were 3. I bought the second one. I spent a year getting very few updates. Some of the updates would stop my phone from connecting to my phone. Then many users would wait and wait. We could not even downgrade. This makes the watch useless. This watch only works when it is connected to a phone. It is doesn't even tell time without a connection. I recommend a Pebble watch. It is a company that is all about making their watch the best...I have had my for 2 months no problems

    • Sarav

      That's not true with SW2. It actually retains a bit of function without the phone. Includin showing time, alarm, stop watch, you last X notifications, etc.

  • Adrian

    I like this smartwatch :)

  • smart watch reviewer

    my smart watch is definitely not the best. The phone can only be approximately 5 feet away without breaking connection!

    • chrismeister98

      My can be about 30 feet away from my SmartWatch and it is still connected. I would return yours.

  • Fred Gilbert

    This update broke my SW2. I and others can't keep a connection for more then 10-15 seconds after the update. Sony update service software no longer includes the SW2 so repair is not an option and all sorts of resetting and uninstalling apps does nothing...I am beyond pissed. I know that data corruption happens, nothing new there, BUT not gicing us a way to fix it?! WTF?! Who ever heard of a smart device with which the ONLY way to install firmware is via an automatic update...no manual flash=complete and utter fail. Apparently Sony decided that data corruption is a thing of the past.