Updated April 10 with comment from Sony Mobile.
Sony’s long-awaited life-tracking app, Lifelog, hit Google Play on Wednesday—and this should be good news for anyone who’s already purchased Sony’s SmartBand wearable, which requires Lifelog and a Sony host app to work.
But for now the SmartBand and its mission-critical Lifelog app are only optimized to pair with a single smartphone, the yet-to-be-released Xperia Z2. What’s more, compatibility of any type is limited to Xperia phones running Android 4.4 and higher, according to the app’s description on Google Play.
I was one of the original Amazon consumers, and purchased the SmartBand for $99—a far cry cheaper than the $140 Newegg is charging. The product packaging has an Android 4.4 label on it, but doesn’t mention specific hardware requirements. Nor are any compatibility warnings listed on the two retail websites. Yet when I tried to download the essential Lifelog app to both an HTC One (M7) and a new Samsung Galaxy S5 (both Android 4.4 devices), my efforts yielded only the heartbreak of defeat.
So now it looks like the SmartBand will have only Sony-exclusive hardware support for the time being. This would be a new development for Sony’s wearables effort, as the Smartwatch 2 works with any Android phone running 4.0 or higher.
On Thursday, Sony Mobile shared with me the following explanation concerning SmartBand sales and compatibility issues: “Unfortunately SmartBand was shipped out ahead of schedule by several independent distributors. Globally, we launched the first version of our accompanying Lifelog and host apps this week, with more to come on the official US distribution of hardware and software.”
In case you’re wondering what all the hubbub is about, check out the Lifelog video above. Both the app and the SmartBand look to offer a fresh new take on activity-tracking, letting users record social media events, entertainment events and other lifestyle data to a graphically lush timeline.