Smartwatches: The Future of Wearable Tech?
What is a Smartwatch?
A smartwatch is any kind of watch that has the capability of accomplishing tasks similar to those that a smartphone would be used for, such as reading text messages, making calls, taking pictures, receiving notifications etc. The majority of smartwatches today can only accomplish these tasks through some sort of communication with a smartphone, usually Bluetooth technology. There are a few exceptions to this typical rule of smartwatches, one of those being a recently launched project called the Neptune Pine which is basically a smartphone you can wear on your wrist. Smartwatches are starting to become more well known as it is a market that is quickly expanding.
As of right now, there are no outstanding smartwatches on the market. Some larger corporations such as Sony and Samsung have made their own attempts at getting a product on the market before it becomes crowded with smartwatches, but both the Sony Smartwatch 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Gear have received mediocre reviews as both do not have a whole lot of use, other than to show off to friends.
Some smaller companies such as the makers of the Pebble have managed to make a dent in the market, as the Pebble is the only smartwatch with iOS compatibility. The Pebble raised over $10 million in its Kickstarter campaign, setting a record for the fund raising website. The Pebble recently hit the big time, premiering on Amazon.com in a Black Friday sale where people who purchased the watch would receive a $20 Amazon gift card along with the watch.
Many other companies have had their go at the smartwatch, and while they may have gained some amount of media attention for their ventures, the products produced have not proven to be market busters. The Galaxy Gear, which is supposedly the top sold smartwatch currently on the market, was reported to have return rates at over 30% from Best Buy stores. Samsung recently reported that it had shipped over 800,000 units of the Gear to retailers, but those numbers would include Galaxy Gear units given away with Galaxy smartphones. The real number of Gear's sold has been reported to be as low as 50,000..
Bright Future For Smartwatches
Despite so many negative reports on this new market, the future of the smartwatch market is very bright. As previously mentioned, the very first standalone smartwatch (meaning all its functions can be used without the need for assistance from a smartphone), the Neptune Pine is going to be released fairly soon. As of the time this article was written, the project has raised over $459,000 from over 1800 backers, with 19 days left for fundraising on Kickstarter. The Pine supports almost all mobile carriers and is definitely a unique spin on the idea of the smartwatch. Since most other similar products only have a few above average functions, such as giving notifications, cool watch faces, and a couple products including a camera, the Pine has huge potential to become a very popular product.
Rumors have been circulating for a long time that Apple will release its own version of the smartwatch, the iWatch. Apple has finally given evidence that the release of this product ma not be far off, with reports that Apple has put its Apple TV project on the backburner. The iWatch could potentially be the smartwatch for iPhone that iPhone users have long awaited. While the Pebble is a nifty little gadget that is useful for receiving notifications and checking emails, iPhone users hope that the iWatch will utilize Apple's resources well to provide a product that blows away all other options on the market.
Which smartwatch do you look forward to most?
Although the current smartwatch market may not look promising, companies like Apple and Google hope to use innovative technologies to transform the smartwatch from a mediocre, overpriced, bulky wrist add-on, to a powerful computer you can access from your wrist. Experts have projected that the smartwatch market, which would produce about 5 million units in 2013, will expands to over 15 million units in 2014, and it is projected that in 2020, over 373 million units will be shipped worldwide, a growth of about 7500% in a 7 year time period. As more apps and watches are released, the market will continue to gain momentum and help it to reach its projected potential.
So what do you think? Please feel free to leave your opinion on any of the matters discussed above, in the comment section. We will try to address any questions you may have.