Sony has recently announced a new program dubbed the Future Lab which will enable its users to take important decision regarding the design of their future products. Sony has in fact brought forward prototype of two of its out of the box devices, which apparently has been manufactured after taking inputs from its users.
Well, one of them is a hands-free earphone that can be worn around the neck like a neckband. While it might sound like an ordinary one, just like LG's Tome Infinium Wireless headset; but wait, there more to the story!
What exactly is Future Lab?
Just a few weeks back, Sony announced that they want to make their users actively take part in designing their future products. This will not only help the product team at Sony curate products related to consumers demands but also make them more user friendly and intuitive. The Japanese OEM in fact launched a new program which they are dubbing as 'Future Lab'. So far it seems that the Future Lab program from Sony will only deal with the design aspect of several out of the box technology products that aims to improve the life of its consumers. With smartphone going mainstream, the induction of Future Labs program to manufacture out of the box devices may turn out to be revolutionary move by the company.
Concept N: What so cool about this "N"?
Well, the Concept N is one of those products that have come up as part of their Future Lab program. As mentioned earlier the products is neckband that imitates the functionality of a Bluetooth headset. Interestingly though it lacks the fundamental requirement of any headset - an ear bud!
Headset without an earbud!
The Bluetooth device apparently packs multi-directional speakers and directs the audio feedback upwards, thereby negating the need of any external ear buds. Sony claims that the idea behind the Concept N headset is to build a product that can help users listen to music without blocking surrounding noise especially while wandering out outside or even while driving your car. While most of us crave for headphones that comes with the best possible noise insulation, the presence of this external 'noise' can either save or end our lives, especially in a crowded city like India.
In case you can't live without an earbud
If are already crying, thinking where did my favourite earbuds disappear, Sony has you covered too. The Concept N neckband also comes with a cone-shaped earpiece that communicates with the neckband in a more traditional way - via wires.
This out of the box earpiece will come handy in situations where you indeed plan to use the Concept N neckband like a typical headphone you are habituated with. Incidentally though Sony has tried something unique here too, as the earbuds comes with holes punched through the mid-line that allow external noise to creep in.
Just prototype nothing is final yet!
While a report by Verge state that the Concept N neckband which they checked out appeared like a finished product that's about to head to the consumer market, Sony claims otherwise. The Japanese OEM state that these are just prototype which will possibly be modified a bit more to suit consumer needs before they hit the market (well, provided they do!) Sony wasn't also keen to divulge the expected timeframe when consumers can expect to see the product in the mass market.
"Listen Up Arc"
As expected the Concept N neckband from Sony is 'smart' out of the box. In fact, it comes with support for voice command just like the Google Now or the Apple Siri, the main difference lying in the quoted statement one requires to blurt out to make it active. In the Concept N neckband's case all you need to say is "Listen Up Arc" and the band will be up and going.
Packs a Camera as well as a GPS
The Concept N neckband from Sony comes with an inbuilt camera and GPS system that can be controlled via voice command. Besides that, Sony has partnered with leading developers including the makers of AccuWeather, Strava and Yelp to provide content for their innovative neckband.
The other product that was showcased at the SXSW conference is a projector that can apparently change any surface onto a touchscreen. Sony even showed a demo of this projector at their event. However, they weren't ready to disclose any details regarding the internals of the projector and whether or not the final version will come with Android OS on top.