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Sony Seeks Partners to Build Apple iWatch Competitors (AAPL, SNE)

In a preemptive strike against Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung (OTC: SSNLF), Sony (NYSE: SNE) unveiled the SmartWatch 2 this week.

The company also announced that it had sold 200,000 units of the original SmartWatch.

That may sound like a small number compared to the millions of iDevices that are sold each quarter, but it is actually a positive step forward. The SmartWatch series was not designed to replace tablets or smartphones -- it was created to enhance those devices.

As an expensive add-on (the original SmartWatch retailed for $150), the sales achievement is fairly significant.

While the SmartWatch 2 was only unveiled this week, Sony is reportedly interested in expanding the device's lineup.

According to DigiTimes, Sony hopes to release a "variety of models for its SW2 family, targeting different market segments with different price tags." The publication's sources believe that orders for each model are "likely to reach one million units."

That would be an enormous increase for Sony. It might seem like an impossible feat (sales would have to increase by more than 400 percent), but it could happen if consumers are receptive to the new watch's design.

Social media enthusiasts may appreciate the SmartWatch 2's various notification features, and athletic individuals may prefer it to similar offerings from Nike (NYSE: NKE) and other manufacturers.

It is not yet known if or when Apple will release the rumored iWatch, but Samsung has confirmed that it is developing a smart watch of its own. LG is also expected to produce a high-tech watch.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made headlines last month when he said that wearable computers were "incredibly interesting."

"There are lots of gadgets, wearables, in this space now," Cook told Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the D11 conference. "I would say that the ones that are doing more than one thing…there's nothing great out there. There's nothing that's going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch or whatever to wear one. Or at least I haven't seen it. So I think there's lots of things to solve in this space. But it's an area where it's ripe for exploration. It's ripe for us all getting excited about."

With regard to the watch Cook was wearing at the conference, he told the AllThingsD reporters that it was "somewhat natural."

"But as I said before, I think for something to work here, you first have to convince people that it's so incredible that they want to wear it," he added. "You two guys are wearing watches. If we had a room full of 10- to 20-year-olds, and we said, 'Everybody stand up that has a watch on,' I'm not sure anybody would stand up. I don't see it."

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Apple Digitimes iWatch LGNews Rumors Success Stories Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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