What’s Happened to the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor?

In a market that showed so much promise, it seems the tennis sensor industry has died off a bit in 2017. While the world waits for new entrants (and there are some, but more on that later), a stack of people are asking “what’s happened to the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor?”

The Best Racket Sensor in the Business

Sony Smart SensorIn our tests, the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor came out ahead of its 3 main competitors: Zepp, Qlipp and Babolat Play. It was the most accurate by far and had the best suite of analytics.

So, when you’ve seemingly cornered the emerging market of tennis racket sensors, why vanish from the face of the earth? No explanation. No nothing. Just a stack of users wondering what happened and potential new customers wondering where they can get their hands on one.

We might have an answer.

We note that you can still purchase the sensor on the Sony Sensor webpage. We’d be surprised if it’s newly manufactured stock without battery problems. More likely it’s stock from one of the first two production runs. We know of at least one Sony International office having a stack of them and no idea what to do with them. You’ll be hard pressed to find one available from a tennis retailer.

Sony Smart Tennis Sensor Battery Issues

Sony Smart Tennis Sensor Charging Dock (1)The first batch of Sony Smart Sensors hit the market with a bang. The product was new. The market was new in tennis, although doing well in other sports.

Then came batch number 2 and everything went south. It seems most of the sensors produced in the second round of shipments had major battery issues. Users found that when they plugged the sensor into the charger, the red light would illuminate on the sensor (as it’s supposed to) and then fade to black within seconds. Even leaving it in that state didn’t charge the sensor.

No battery charging. No sensor. Lots of unhappy customers.

So what happened between Batch 1 and Batch 2?

At the outset, we must say we have had no confirmation of this from Sony or any third party. This is “join-the-dots” stuff.

In 2016 a company by the name of Battery Conservation sued Sony for Patent Infringement. Battery Conservation holds a patent over technology that puts a device to sleep after a pre-determined period, thus conserving battery life.

The case was dismissed “Without Prejudice”.

Now, we’re not lawyers and certainly no experts in US (or any other) law. But we can sure as hell Google! Dismissed Without Prejudice means Sony settled the case but not to the extent that Battery Conservation can’t take them back to court for the same thing in the future.

sony-tennis-2-649x435So, our guess is (and we stress it’s a guess although a well educated one) Sony thought, OK, we’ll pay an undisclosed amount for the patent infringement to date, but we’re not paying a larger amount to ensure we can use it into the future.

As one of the biggest tech companies in the world, Sony no doubt thought they had something lying around a Tokyo factory that would do the job. A fiddle here and a faddle there and who needs the Battery Conservation tech any way.

Whatever fiddling and faddling they did to the next batch completely wrote the sensor battery off to the extent that it didn’t charge in the first place, let alone went into a period of sleep after inactivity.

Rather than fix the issue, it seems Sony have bailed out on the whole idea of a tennis sensor. Let’s face it, it’s not their core business any way. They probably thought there weren’t enough worldwide users that they’d take a big enough or broad enough hit, and they were right.

Hence, the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor seems to be no more.

A Side Note Related to the Zepp Sensor

zeppBattery Conservation brought the same legal action against the Zepp Sensor, except this time it was “Dismissed With Prejudice”.

The difference?

Having come to an agreement over settlement, the Zepp guys have probably paid out a higher amount to Battery Conservation such that the latter can’t bring the same action against them again.

In other words, Zepp paid for the initial breach of patent plus any future use. Sony just paid for the initial breach thinking they could use their own tech.

So, the question has to be asked, why would Zepp make sure they could use the tech in the future without fear of legal action? After all, it’s not like Zepp are producing a heap more sensors or updates to the current one.

We have a good idea on this as well. But unfortunately we have to protect our sources for the moment and divulge that little piece of information later. Let’s just say there may be a Zepp reincarnate with the addition of another name!

12 Replies to "What's Happened to the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor?"

  • marcus katz
    October 27, 2017 (2:18 pm)

    OK – the bottom line is there’s anyone else sell one that works? And if so is there a link as to where it could be purchased

    • Nick
      October 27, 2017 (7:23 pm)

      Hi Marcus, we haven’t found any online. It’s interesting that the new Yonex Ezone racquets have been released with the “Compatible with Sony Smart Sensor” all over them. We’ll be having a look inside the app shortly to see if that’s actually the case ie in the list of compatible racquets. Will be back on this thread shortly.

  • Alex
    January 18, 2018 (5:05 pm)

    Hi there!
    do you know how to find out if the sensor is from Batch 1 or 2?

    • Nick
      January 19, 2018 (5:09 am)

      Hi Alex,

      You’d know if you had a sensor from the second batch. They simply don’t charge from the get-go. Once connected to a charger, the red light illuminates for a second or two, then goes out ie no charge. We don’t have the batch numbers to look out for though. Hope that helps.


  • Juliet
    June 30, 2018 (11:21 pm)

    Hi! Have you had a chance to look at the Coollang sensor? It comes up on Amazon when I try to find the Sony one.

    • Nick
      July 2, 2018 (12:46 am)

      Hi Juliet, apologies for the delayed response. We looked at getting one in a couple of years ago, but from our research it’s a direct copy of the original Zepp Sensor. Nothing’s changed that we can see so we left it alone.


  • Ruy Martins
    March 20, 2019 (10:34 pm)

    forget this sensor sony! I bouhgt two; no one works well; the battery gets no charge

    • Nick
      March 20, 2019 (10:37 pm)

      I’m afraid that’s been a major issue as suggested in our article.

  • PR Noyes
    June 5, 2019 (1:59 pm)

    Except… except… EXCEPT… !
    Battery issues and racket compatibilities aside…
    What we had with the SONY ( I used all of the various sensors for about a summer and know their limitations) was the video assist AFTER the game/training/session whatever. THAT combined with the exceptional analytics was what sold me on the SONY. Video scrub bar to that forehand shown in the hour long graph and SEE the reason I was able to set up and take that swing… THAT was what made all the other sensors useless in my view.

    SONY does not understand that the battery issue was worth pushing through to deliver the industry-changing sensor worth owning. No WONDER the market did not buy into their crap battery issue.. good grief.

    • Nick
      June 5, 2019 (11:21 pm)

      Hi, Hard to argue your points. Bottom line is I think Sony decided tennis sensors were not its core industry. So, when push came to shove re the battery issues, someone in headquarters looked at some numbers and decided the whole thing was too hard. Shame really.

  • Jay
    August 26, 2019 (3:55 pm)

    Does anyone know if the “champion” sensor is a newer version of the coolant sensor? Or is it just the same sensor rebranded (which is a ?copy of the original zepp sensor?)

    I too had a sony sensor and loved it, but does not charge anymore… does anyone have a recommendation on the current best replacement?

    • Nick
      August 28, 2019 (1:01 am)

      Hi Jay, we’re in the process of testing the “champion” sensor at the moment. Update will be available here in early September.

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