In just a few months, it will be the one-year anniversary of Android Wear's announcement (March 18th). Since the first two official Android-powered watches were released at I/O 2014, we've seen half a dozen total watches running Android Wear, each with its own pros and cons. These devices run the gamut from kind of ugly to truly gorgeous. A new wave of watches will be upon us in the coming year, but the current ones are still a great way to get into wearables.
Most of the things happening on Android Wear smartwatches are entirely dependent on the connected phone, but there is support for the watches to be a little more independent. The Sony SmartWatch 3, for example, has its own GPS chip that was enabled by the Android 4.4W.2 update. Now the popular fitness app RunKeeper has been updated to take advantage of it.
Sony began pushing out an update to the Xperia Z3 on December 11th, but we didn't know exactly what it contained. Well, we do now. Sony has graciously added a changelog to the page. The Z3 and Z3 compact are getting the same features, but it's a nice little update.
Google Glass still isn't lighting up the world almost two years after release, but it looks like at least one major electronics corporation has taken notice. Sony's primary production division announced its new Single-Lens Display Module today. It's a wearable device that's remarkably similar to Glass in basic structure, with the major difference being that it can be attached to any normal pair of glasses or sunglasses.
Sony hasn't always been the best at updating its phones, but the company does have a commitment to AOSP unlike most others. It contributes a lot of code to Android, and developers are encouraged to tinker with unlocked devices. In fact, Sony has just announced support for AOSP on the Xperia E3 and Xperia T3, meaning all Qualcomm-based phones from 2014 can run pure Android with very little hassle.
There aren't many premium Android tablets worth your money, but Sony has some solid hardware and the software isn't bad either. You don't even have to settle for one of those clunky 10.1-inch monsters. The Z3 Tablet Compact is an 8-inch tablet with great specs, and the price is getting pretty attractive at Amazon ($430 from about $500).
In case you're unaware, the Z3 Tablet Compact has an 8-inch 1920x1200 LCD, 4500mAh battery, Snapdragon 801, and 2GB of RAM.
The one Nexus-style smartphone that's even bigger than the N6 is getting its Android 5.0 update today. At least a few owners of Sony's Z Ultra (nee Xperia) Google Play Edition are getting over-the-air updates to Lollipop, as evidenced by this XDA thread. Conveniently, one of those fine folks has found the link to OTA ZIP file, so you can download and flash it manually to your own phone if you don't want to wait for the rollout.
Update: The app has been removed from the Play Store. Good job, Google/Sony/users who flagged the app.
Oh dear. The folks at XperiaBlog got a nasty shock when checking the My Apps section of the Play Store on an Xperia Z3: the Backup & Restore app (a default application pre-installed on the phone) seems to have been compromised. A Play Store page has been added for the app, and now shows "Nirav Patel Kanudo" as the publisher.
Sony was already an experienced veteran of the smartwatch market when Android Wear was announced. Of course, I don't mean that they were experienced selling them—oh, goodness no. Sony sure did make smartwatches, though. When asked if there would be an Android Wear device in Sony's portfolio, the company said it would continue to do its own thing. Well, that didn't last long. The SmartWatch 3 is essentially a beefed up version of Sony's past smartwatches running Android Wear, and that could make it a potent competitor in the burgeoning wearable wars.
Sony is making it easier to get AOSP ROMs up and running on its flagship devices with a few goodies for developers. After showing off stock Android 5.0 running on the Xperia Z3 recently, the company has posted source code and binaries for the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z2, Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact.