It seems every few days another tech publication or an analyst is trying to scare monger about the future of smartwatches. Now, I’m not suggesting that the category is flying along at a great pace, nor can we avoid the apparent lack of current devices, however, there is a very real phenomenon in culture where if you say something enough people will start to believe it, especially when those doing the talking are influential.
I have to admit, I love my smartwatch, I have always worn a watch and carrying a smartphone didn’t change that. When Android Wear became a thing I immediately imported a Moto 360 from the USA and I’ve never looked back. Yes, I am a massive nerd, but I find that the Smartwatch is a fantastic ACCESSORY for my phone and greatly enhances the overall control and interaction with my digital life.
Unlike the smartphone that moved into the market and filled a complete void, the smartwatch is emerging into a space where their existence is supplemental, not central. Perhaps this is the issue, are those espousing the failure, and even those creating the devices, looking to create something as big and successful as the smartphone? Because if they are then yes, it has failed to achieve that, and likely always will.
It’s undeniable that smartwatches are not as successful as many people, myself included, may have been hoping for but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a valid category that deserves development. I think many companies would give their CEO’s right leg to have a business as profitable as just the Apple Watch business would be within Apple, now Apple has a special kind of groupie and as a fashion/ status brand their performance is more emotional than a sign of ultimate success, but still that business would bring in a tidy profit.
What does Android Wear need to survive?
I think that answer is simple. Android Wear needs Google, specifically Google’s hardware division led by Rick Osterloh. Google needs to commit to the hardware platform, not just the software. They need to say upfront we will be releasing Android Wear devices for 3 ? 4? 5? years. They need to show other OEMs, developers, and consumers that they are committed to both the hardware and software platform for the mid-term and that it’s safe to invest in the category.
The Smartwatch category is in a difficult space, in a world where we are already buying new phones every year or two not many people are going to want to add a new watch to their expenses. Hopefully, the technology platform can become stable enough that users can get more than a year or two use out of a smartwatch? Could modularity become the successful model? Keep the case and swap out the innards?
Whatever the future holds I wish people would stop trying to kill the smartwatch with headlines and snark. Yes, the smartwatch category, like all things, needs to be critically evaluated but when you’re in an industry like tech with such a vast range of measures for success perhaps it is the measure and not the performance that are failing? Smartwatches were never going to be the next smartphone, and wanting them to be is just plain stupid.
Where do you stand on Smartwatches? Are you a fan wanting them to succeed or a skeptic waiting to be shown why you “need one”. Let us know below.