Smartwatches: A go or no go?


apple watch

With Apple’s announcement of the “Apple Watch” launch and having dominated the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show, everyone is wondering whether this hype of having a smartwatch will really take hold of the crowd or not. After all, Apple is not the first to create such a product.

Indeed companies such as Samsung have already introduced their own line “Samsung Gear”, with their newest soon-to-be-launched product being the Gear S. The Gear S will be equipped with 3G, Wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to make/receive calls and messages when you are not close to your phone, will have an onscreen keyboard, a schedule, a weather report, a health track, a music player, and to top it off, a personal fitness monitor.

Motorola introduced their own smartwatch this summer, the Moto 360. Beginning sales on the 5th of September this year it claimed on Twitter it had “sold out” in the U.S within the day. And LG isn’t far behind.

The new Apple Watch (launch in 2015) comes with a sapphire display, wireless charging, a built-in mobile payment system (Apple Pay) and it works as a fitness tracker too – with a motion sensor and heart-rate monitor to track movement and activity. You can choose your own easily removable band and personalize your Apple Watch over two million ways.

So, will smartwatches be the next big thing?

Many believe what will drive the smart watch market is simply the apps that will be available on the actual watch. Sony’s SmartWatch Universal IM app for example allows you to receive notifications from Facebook Messenger, Skype, Whatsapp, and Google Voice. Apple’s watch brings in a completely new feature, it allows for easy and quick payments, no need for a wallet anymore. If the product is further developed customers might gain an interest in purchasing.

Ustwo visual designer Shaun Tollerton said: “Wearable is going to take off. In fact, it already did, but it reminds me of when 3D took off. Once the gimmick and hype wears off we can focus on creating functionality that can truly benefit our lives.”

Why might it fail?

It could simply fail because smart-watches were introduced when everyone simply began giving up on wearing a watch. As smartphones became popular, more and more people began looking at their phone for the time, so why need a watch at all? Other people simply believe that the product is still too expensive, ranging from $150-$350, and the battery life is too short.

Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw  stated in an interview that “market growth and the overall revenue opportunity remain poor for smartwatches” and “we would advise most would-be vendors to stay out of the market,” he says, while saying that those who continue should aim to be cross-platform, working with Android and Apple’s iOS.

But what do you think? Will the Smart-watch apps be the main drive of this product in the future? Is it too early to tell or will this become a product which will suffer a high abandonment risk?

Sources & interesting things to see/read:

Apple Watch impression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxM-rac7vb4

Smartwatch comparison : http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/apple-watch-comparison-how-does-apples-smartwatch-stand-up-to-the-competition-9717069.html

http://www.knowyourmobile.com/wearable-technology/moto-360/21970/moto-360-release-date-specs-price-all-you-need-know

http://www.techadvisor.co.uk/features/gadget/future-of-smartwatch-apps/#sthash.ZPCKGrd8.dpuf

http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/gears/gears_features.html

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/aug/14/smartwatches-apple-jackdaw-android-wear-itine

http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/trouble-smartwatches

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5 responses to “Smartwatches: A go or no go?”

  1. 353191er says :

    Personally, I don’t think that this is a useful gadget, at least not for me. The problem is that it kind of doubles the functions of a phone (apart from the health monitor). There are not enough moments when I would leave the house without a phone or a wallet, and when I have them with me, I do not see the purpose of using the smartwatch. As mentioned, the battery life would also matter. At the moment I wear a usual watch and I wouldn’t replace it. I think that especially among Apple lovers this will be a hype for a while, but I don’t think it can become such an unmissable gadget as a phone for example.

  2. stefanlisapaly says :

    I would have to agree with 353191er. The smartwatch is indeed an extention of the phone with no apparent enhancing functions, except for the health monitor. It is also worth mentioning that, for the time being, the smartwatch does not actually replace a phone; you would need both devices.

    To answer the questions of 354079mf: I think the apps would not only be the main drive of the product, I think they would be the only drive. A watch has the function to quickly have a look at the time. People will want it to be reliable. I therefore think the driving factors of the smartwach will also prove to be the downfall of the smartwatch. Out of experience with the iPhone, I’ve found out that certain apps can drain your device’s energy rather fast. When one does not actively keep track of the apps currently running on a smartwatch, it might run out of energy faster than anticipating, resulting in having a useless device on your wrist.

    Secondly, I think the smartwatch might end up being more of a distraction rather than a contribution, especially when you use it as an extention of your phone. Rather than being distracted by the apps or incoming messages on your phone, you are now distracted by the same things but on your watch.

    Concluding, I can see a peak in sales at the start, for fans of Apple products, but on the long term, I see no potential benefits of a smartwatch compared to a normal watch.

  3. 354842tv says :

    I believe that we should not discard the idea of the smartwatch becoming a successful product in the future just yet. I am the first person to agree with abovementioned critiques; for me the smartwatch does not add value and I am far from inclined to purchase such a gadget. However, writing off the smartwatch in this stage already, might be folly. Back in the day, the idea of having a personal computer – a gadget that we now all own – was ridiculed at its inception. Further, mobile phones only became a dominant trend 20 years after its inception (Google.com – Patents, 2014)

    Apple, Samsung, Google, Motorola and Sony all jumped on the bandwagon to create and promote a smartwatch. I believe these companies have visions that reach further than selling because of a hype. I think there is more. We must also not forget that the smartwatches out there are only the first versions that are obviously far from perfect. Despite this, the competition of other and regular watches, and the relatively high price, they seem to deliver on their promise and manage to be profitable products after all. (Engadget.com 2013).

    I believe there is more to come. These smartwatches (the first official versions) might be used to test the waters – see what features customers appreciate most about the watches. From here on, companies such as Google and Apple might enhance and customise their products further. I agree that smartwatches now are too similar to phones and abundant for many people, but apparently there is still a market for them. Who knows whether the smartwatch will prevail in 20 years. I, personally, do not reject the smartwatch idea in its entirety. Maybe it will carry on and replace smartphones. Because after all, nothing lasts forever right?

    The devil’s advocate.

    Sources:
    http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/19/samsung-800000-galaxy-gear-sales
    http://www.google.com/patents/US3906166?dq=martin+cooper

    • 358406at358406at says :

      I very much agree with this argumentation. Tablets have also been heavily criticized at their inception (‘would would buy such an expensive and useless thing’ they said). One important aspect of these smart gadgets (watches, phones, tablets, glasses etc…) is that they all are platforms. Platforms are extremely powerful, as mentioned above, not because of what platforms do by themselves, but because of the enormous synergistic possibilities with other apps or software.
      Also, I do think that people currently underestimate the importance of health and wellness in our (future) society. People are being more careful than ever about their weights, diet, and physical activities. Being healthy is trendy. People are more concious about what’s good and bad for them: checking out a product’s ingredient list or going for the bio-version of it.
      Smartwatches might well have a bright future.

  4. 353404vd says :

    I personally think that the Apple Watch can be a very useful device. It is definitely very innovative, although it will take a while before the mass market appreciates its functionality and starts buying it. Firstly, I think that the smart watch will be very popular among business people. These days it is considered as rude and inappropriate if people are on their phones during a meeting for example. However, if you can see your notifications on your watch in just a second, that will allow people to stay updated without loosing their focus. Secondly, it is be doubtless very useful for doing sports – like running for instance. It will be very comfortable and effortless, yet very informative and useful. And last but not least, Apple has always branded its devices as “electronic jewelry” and the Apple Watch will be just that. Its very elegant design will be able to make it a great accessory for almost every type of person. It also has the potential to become very fashionable and trendy “must have” item.
    I will not be one of the early adopters of this technology, but I think it has a lot of potential to create a profitable market for Apple.

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