The smartwatch has been around for longer than you may think, in fact, we’ve all probably been the proud owner of one at some stage – do you remember the Nelsonic game watches of the 80’s? Or perhaps the Seiko message watch of the 90’s was more your style? Finally, in the late 90’s, Samsung entered the scene with one of the first ever watch phones. Turns out there was smartwatch life before Apple after all!
Our affinity for wearing technology on our wrist never lets up, and the struggle to create the ultimate smartwatch continues. While there have been many a dip in the trend, there are lots of debates as to whether the smartwatch is a flop or not. Interestingly enough, most large brands are developing a smartwatch and there are also several online marketplaces for watches like this one, which allow you to view and compare various brands at once and make the whole process of choosing a smartwatch a lot easier.
The Infamous Apple Watch
Consumers have never taken to smartwatches like they did to smartphones. This was all set to finally change with the introduction of the Apple watch in April 2015, and then again with the introduction of the second series in September 2016. Everyone is of course divided in regards to the success of the watch; it’s more successful than other watches but just not in terms of the grand scale of all things Apple. Needless to say, the Apple sales reports have been kept relatively private but according to Huffington Post, estimated sales of the first series were at 3.6 million units. The holiday season of 2016. And the release of the new series, is rumored to have experienced a slight spike in sales again.
Most people are now of the opinion “if Apple can’t do it, then who can?”, but what we don’t realize is that there are plenty other players in the market – like Samsung and Android Wear. However, the Apple Watch Series 2 did indeed bring many improvements along with it like a cleaner interface and faster processing.
The Pitfalls of Smartwatches
Exactly why smartwatches have still not enjoyed their predicted success is unclear, however, there are a few obvious contributing factors. The main one being, that no one really knows what a smartwatch is primarily for. As proven with the success of the FitBit, such wearable tech is quite popular amongst the fitness and health community. Its purpose and target audience are both very well-defined. On the other hand, the smartwatch, for now, remains a mere accompaniment to a smartphone.
Another important element that seems to regularly arise when it comes to wearable tech, is the fact that the watch is, and always has been a fashion accessory. This means that wearing an over-sized computer watch on your wrist is not necessarily the most attractive option. As a result, many smartwatch producers are constantly trying to find ways to turn the tide – such as Apple’s collaborations with the likes of the French luxury brand, Hermès.
The Future of the Smartwatch
Bearing in mind the length of time it usually takes for a new tech accessory to catch on, it’s not all bleak for the smartwatch. For such a small user interface, producers will finally look to ways of maximizing efficiency rather than overloading the watches with apps and features. Perhaps smartwatches will become more specialized for certain functions, for example, in a similar way to the FitBit.
As a symbol of fashion, the smartwatch now requires more options. Further options to customize your own individual timepiece, beyond just the strap, is something that may make it more appealing. Smartwatches require something to set it apart from the smartphone, something which will make it a standalone item rather than a semi-convenient accessory. Although no one has quite achieved that yet, many suspect that it is on its way.