Sony's forthcoming in-ear helper writes text messages, manages your diary and reads the news.
Update: Xperia Ear is landing in selected countries some time in November! Sign up here to get a handy heads up when it arrives.
Sony taunted us with the promise of a future line of smart home concept gadgets at the MWC conference earlier this year, but the Japanese tech giant also announced solid plans to tackle the world of wearables, and Xperia Ear is first in line.
Launching this summer, Xperia Ear is a wireless Bluetooth earpiece that brings a virtual PA directly to your ear. It syncs to your phone to access its location and messaging services, and then peppers you with timely information throughout the day via the dulcet tones of an AI assistant.
Those in-ear updates could be about anything from the weather and news, to calendar reminders, call alerts and social media updates. You’ll be able to interact with your assistant with voice commands too, meaning a simple “Call Sarah” is enough to initiate a hands-free call, and “Take me to Central Park” will get you instant directions. You can even dictate messages and perform internet searches too.
In the host Sony app, you’ll be able to customise a few of Xperia Ear’s settings, like what kind of information it relays to you first thing in the morning when you pop it in your ear. The earpiece has a proximity sensor that wirelessly links it up to your phone when it’s in your ear, so it knows when it’s time to kick into action.
Xperia Ear will come with a case that doubles as a charger. The earpiece can cope with around 3.5 hours of continuous wear before it needs charging, which Sony says will be enough to get it through an entire day. It’s also IPX2 water-resistant, so it’s not afraid of the odd rain shower.
Will it catch on? The jury’s still out on that one until Xperia Ear hits the shops. It’s hard not to think of Bluetooth earpieces as synonymous with cheesy businessmen in pinstriped suits, but at least Xperia Ear is sans the extendable microphone.
Our guess is that only schedule-heavy city slickers are going to be latching on in the beginning, but what with Xperia Ear being so attractive and discreet, we’re not ruling out the idea of this being the start of a serious Bluetooth earpiece second coming.