Smartwatches seemed to be yet another fancy piece of gadget that looked cool but wasn’t really useful. Now with almost all tech giants Apple, Google, Samsung getting it seems it will become a mainstream device and everyone will be wearing one.
A short history
Samsung Electronics was the first one to bring commercially available smartwatches compatible with smartphones to market. Samsung launched its first smartwatch in September 2013 called Samsung Galaxy Gear. This smartwatch was compatible with Samsung’s Galaxy series high end smartphones. Back then it was something that did excite people for a while but faded soon. Users identified lot of shortcomings of the device and it was criticized for that. Samsung took this feedback positively tried harder to impress consumers with its new smartwatches. It recently launched Samsung Galaxy Gear 3.
Since last year lot of other Smartphone manufacturers like Motorola, Apple, Sony, Asus, LG have been working on developing smartwatches. This extension of their portfolio was estimated to boost their sales and brand value.
This year market has already seen 6 new smartwatches. Sony released its first android smartwatch Sony Smartwatch 3, Asus launched Asus Zenwatch, LG’s G Watch, Motorola launched Moto 360 and the latest addition was on 9th September 14 when Apple announced its 1st wearable Apple Watch. Each of these is different from each other in design but what they do have in common is the functionality. They all work on similar arenas and that is possibly the reason why they have been able to crack through the market.
What do these Smartwatches do?
- They work in association with smartphones that enable them to give quick notifications. Matter of fact that they sit on our wrists it’s convenient to read through texts and other notifications.
- They can open and work through various apps and even allow you to browse maps.
- They can function like a fitness tracker. One can monitor their fitness activity on them.
- Samsung Galaxy Gear sports a camera as well. One can raise their wrist and click pictures. It even allowed making phone calls.
- Recently launched Apple Watch offer NFC to make payments via Apple Pay.
- Apart from showing time they also provide weather updates.
- They Sync data from your smartphone to show your flight details and gives notification about traffic and time it would take to reach airport.
What consumers expect it to be?
- Smartwatches should be smart enough to understand the movements to wake up.
- They should be able to function independently. They shouldn’t be an extension of smartphones.
- They should offer better features rather being similar to fitness tracker. Why would someone pay more than $200 for a fitness tracker? There are cheaper Fitness trackers that can also act as Smartphone for Ex: Garmin Vivosmart.
- Smartwatches should come with improved designs that atleast looks like watches.
- Rubber Straps and cheap leather finish straps make the smartwatch look ugly. Why would someone spend a hefty amount to get an ugly looking wearable. Apple’s watch is changing that though with changeable fancy straps. Expect some premium brands to start producing luxurious straps that will double up as a piece of jewelry.
- Smartwatches can take fitness monitoring to another level as they stay so close to body. They should be able to check vitals.
Apart from these, first of all a smartwatch should be comfortable to wear.
Why should someone buy a smartwatch?
We all run behind convenience and that is why we have so many appliances and gadgets. They all provide convenience in day to day life. Current round of smartwatches offer very limited functionalities and are dependent on smartphones too. But they are developed with the thought of providing convenience. Convenience to take call without reaching out for your bigger screen smartphones, convenience to see maps, convenience to quickly answer an important text, convenience to share images and routes. These are just few examples but it may cater bigger needs tomorrow. Smartwatches that are available in market right now seems to be setting up the stage for the real SmartWatch. So maybe it doesn not make sense to buy a smartwatch now but if it can enable you to do lot more at lower prices than why not to have one. Design and Price is another factor why consumers are hesitant to buy smartwatches.