Sony Beats Pebble to the Punch with SmartWatch, but Will it Flop?

After being unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 in January, Sony's SmartWatch debuted in the UK, and today became available in the US. It's a pretty direct competitor to Pebble, a watch created by Canadian entrepreneur Eric Migicovsky. With Sony's SmartWatch out now, and the Pebble not slated to launch until the fall, is Eric's startup already doomed?

Not likely. So far, Sony's device looks to be a flop. The company - which recently laid off a staggering 6,000 people and posted a record loss in its most recent earnings report - made the SmartWatch Android-only, while the Pebble will also work with Apple's iOS. It's also more expensive at $150. And reviews have been mixed at best: Slashgear said the device is difficult to read in sunlight and has terrible battery life, among other shortcomings (the Pebble effectively uses e-ink technology, enhancing outdoor readability and also greatly extending battery life). The SmartWatch is also not water resistant, despite being splashed in water in a promotional video.

Pebble has already raised well over $1 million in just over 24 hours on Kickstarter - 1,300% of their original goal - so the startup clearly has demand for its unborn product. While Sony's product is out now, it appears that consumers are willing to wait a few months for a cheaper, better solution. However, Pebble better watch out (pun intended) about calling its device a "smartwatch" - Sony is evidently claiming the name for itself.

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