Sony’s Xperia Ear, Eye and Projector accessories look to a future beyond smartphones
Part of the excitement of technology shows such as MWC is the chance to try out technology that’s right at the bleeding edge. Sony’s Xperia Ear, Eye and Projector are the perfect examples: they’re concepts, only one of which has been confirmed as a real-life product you’ll be able to buy – but they’re also looking beyond the smartphone to the future of mobile tech.
The Xperia Ear is the one product from this collection that Sony says will definitely go on sale, and it’s the one that most caught my eye – or rather my ear. It’s a personal assistant, like Siri or Cortana, embedded in a Bluetooth earpiece and it really is a beautifully designed thing.
Xperia Ear: Design and features
The Ear is tiny, trimmed with chrome effect plastic, and has a touch sensitive panel on the top with a single status LED. Its sculpted body is a triumph of ergonomic design: when I tried one on for size at Sony’s booth it fitted my ear as if it had been custom-moulded – pop it in, twist it around and it locks securely in place.
So far, so ordinary, but this is when the magic happens. As soon as the Xperia Ear senses you’ve put it in, it goes into personal assistant mode, informing you of any calls or texts you might have missed since the last time you popped it in, or what the weather forecast is today. It can even give you traffic updates.
You can customise this “welcome” notification to suit, but that’s not all the Xperia Ear can do. Put it in your ear when your phone rings and it will automatically answer the call for you. Tap the touch surface on the outside of the earpiece and you’ll also be able to ask for (and get) directions to the nearest coffee shop or craft beer pub without having to lay a finger on your phone or even take it out of your pocket.
Better still, since the Xperia Ear supports Google Now’s voice recognition technology in addition to Sony’s own system, the range of actions it supports will be huge right from the get go. Even the charger is a great piece of design. It doubles as a protective case as well as a charger. Just pop the Ear in the slot at the top, close the lid and you’re good to go.
As for performance, that’s tougher to gauge. When I tried it out at Sony’s stand, the sound came through loud and clear, despite the show floor hubbub, but I wasn’t able to test the voice instructions as they’d been disabled on the unit I looked at. Despite this, I’m excited about the Sony Xperia Ear, and will be requesting a review unit as soon as Sony releases the product officially this summer.
Continues on Page 2: Sony’s Xperia Projector will change the way you use your smartphone forever