NXP powers NFC payments in Sony Wena smart watch strap

An exploded view of the Wena watch strap shows its internal components
UNPACKED: An exploded view of the Wena watch strap shows its internal components

PARTNER NEWS: Sony’s Wena watch strap, launched in the UK this week and designed to bring smartwatch features to traditional mechanical timepieces, uses NFC hardware and the mWallet 2GO full service mobile wallet platform from NXP to power its contactless payments feature.

“Wena stands for ‘wear electronics naturally’, and the strap has been designed exactly with this in mind,” says Sony. “The interchangeable nature of the watch allows the technology to be isolated to the clasp of the watch strap, rather than being linked to the face.”

A Sony Wena Wrist Pro strap, shown with a Wena watch headThe strap provides the user with notifications for incoming calls, mail and messages from mobile apps using a one- or two-line display. It can also log steps and calories burned, while a sports-oriented version also offers GPS tracking and a heart rate sensor to provide calories burned and distance travelled.

For the payment feature, Wirecard will be the launch issuer for the UK and Ireland, where owners will use the company’s Boon app for iOS and Android to add a virtual card to the Wena app and set up automatic top-ups.

Digital-first bank KBC will be the first bank in Ireland to support Wena payments. To add their KBC debit and credit cards instantly, customers will just have to download the Wena app and follow the prompts, says Sony.

“There couldn’t be a better example than Sony’s new Wena bands to prove how any device can be a payment device with this first true end-to-end mobile wallet solution, the NXP mWallet 2GO,” says Gregor Klezin, director of global mobile payment solutions at NXP Semiconductors.

The Wena watch strap offers lug width options of 18,20 and 22mm to attach to a wide range of conventional watch faces, and Sony offers a range of its own watch heads designed to match the straps.

Wena Wrist Pro is a steel strap available in black or stainless, while Wena Wrist Active is a black silicone strap with integrated GPS and heart rate tracking. The silicone strap is priced at £349 (US$447) and the metal version is £399 (US$511), with Sony’s watch faces varying between £100 (US$128) and £400 (US$513). All are available to pre-order in the UK now.