Sony keeping crowdfunded FES e-ink smartwatch quiet

sony eink smartwatrchCrowdfunding is usually used by smaller concerns to get a new product launched, like Gruv Gear’s GigBlade. It seems that Sony has been trying the same with its own e-ink smartwatch – the FES Watch.

Sony’s e-ink-powered FES Watch (Fashion Entertainments Watch) has apparently been hiding in plain sight on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake.

To see if people actually wanted to see the FES Watch produced the company put the project up under the name of Fashion Entertainments with an original funding goal of around $8,500. This was promptly annihilated with the final score coming in at just over $20,000.

This is hardly surprising given the unique way in which the e-ink ‘screen’ has been utilised – the strap is actually part of the display area in so much as it can also change just as the face does.

fes watch gifThe involvement of Sony in what first appeared to many as a start-up venture was revealed in a report in The Wall Street Journal on Friday with one of the project’s coordinators stating:

We hid Sony’s name because we wanted to test the real value of the product We hid Sony’s name because we wanted to test the real value of the product, whether there will be demand for our concept,”

It does look a neat smartwatch which appears to be incredibly thin and shaped like a traditional wristwatch. The e-ink is not only energy efficient but I am sure that this also helps with keeping the watch slender. According to the project’s campaign page, the device’s battery will last up to 60 days.

In the demonstration video below you can see the device flicking through some of its 24 design patterns, changing the watch from light to dark, with one design even giving the watchband an alligator skin pattern.

Looking over the interwebs for clues to any further functionality only seems to reveal that the e-ink design changes are the only smart part of the device’s functions. Of course, more could be unveiled closer to the release.

Offered for around $167 on the crowdfunding site, the FES Watch is scheduled to ship to early backers in May 2015.

Sony has not yet released an official statement regarding the device or whether it will be made widely available in stores.

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