Miruna Codeanu

What they’re missing out about smart watches

In cappuccino on May 15, 2014 at 7:13 am


(source: The Verge)

Acer, Apple, BlackBerry, Foxconn/Hon Hai, Google, LG, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba, they are all involved in building smart watches. This is how wiki defines the smartwatch:  “smartwatch or smart watch, is a computerized wristwatch with functionality that is enhanced beyond timekeeping, and is often comparable to a personal digital assistant (PDA) device. While early models can perform basic tasks, such as calculations, translations, and game-playing, modern smartwatches are effectively wearable computers. Many smartwatches run mobile apps, while a smaller number of models run a mobile operating system and function as portable media players, offering playback of FM radio, audio, and video files to the user via a Bluetooth headset. Some smartphone models, (also called watch phones) feature full mobile phone capability, and can make or answer phone calls” . This is probably one piece of tech that lacks the biggest player: Apple. Although it previously announced its intention to launch a smartwatch, Apple seems to have dropped its plans on the iwatch, which cannot be named iwatch as it is a Swatch trademark.

I was reading a review about Samsung’s Gear 2 this morning and it basically said it does everything. How come they are not really, really successful?  How come their strategy doesn’t work?

I’ve tried wearing a smartwatch. It lasted for 3 days. It is helpful for a giant phone or driving, or multitasking. Then I forgot to charge it and I didn’t miss it. It would probably mean it’s not that helpful. But it is helpful. Not something I cannot live without, but, still, helpful. How come I don’t forget my jewelry in the morning but I forget to put on a smart watch? Also I like watches. Quite a lot. True, I’m on the chronograph side of the story when it comes to horlogerie. Also, truth be said, smartches aren’t precisely horlogerie. But, normally, I do like wearing watches. Ok, a smartwatch isn’t a pretty watch. But it is a piece of gear, gear isn’t supposed to be pretty. This where we stop. This is wrong. Go home. Wearable should be pretty. They are wearables. If you are taking them to the market, you will be addressing a whole new segment than geeks. This is the part Apple got right about technology: technology deserves to looks good. This is probably I have high expectation from their iwatch. First problem: smartwatches are quite ugly right now. Solution: if they are wearables, make them wearable.

Now let’s talk about the market for this product. We’re talking about a smart watch, another type of watch, right? Who are they addressing with their smartwatches? Geeks? Probably. Watch wearers? Well, that should be a first target. Stop. Look around. How many of the people in that room are wearing a watch? Clearly less than 50%. Let me rephrase, how many of the people that own a smartphone and would buy a smartwatch are wearing a watch. Definetely less than 50%. There are few watch wearers left alive. Those who do wear a watch do it as a statament or because they love the design. A watch is an object that has lost its functionality, any mobile phone you’d have, it has the ability to tell you what time it is. You have the time in you car, in the bus, in the subway. Time is important to us, but it is pretty much displayed everywhere. You don’t really see people asking for the time anymore.

Why aren’t smartwatches a hit? The manufacturers are addressing the wrong target. A smart watch is no tech revolution. For the time being at least. So, you need to make it a statement. A lifestyle thing. Talk to the ones that love and wear watches. Talk to the trendsetters. Make those smartwatches wearable. While writing this I was thinking how can one make smart watches attractive. Use the example of design in automotive. Luxury cars are usually classy, only you also have to incorporate high tech in luxury cars. How do you do that without obtaining kitsch. Design. Think of digital speedometers and car consoles that look totally classy towards vintage somethimes while being the latest piece of tech in automotive at the same time. You can basically draw anything on a screen: be it vintage inspired or futuristic. Do the same with a smartwach. A smartwatch resembling a chronograph only drawn on a screen to show your notification at the next touch. Talk to the trend setters, talk to the wearers, talk to the show offs, make smartwatches wearable.

  1. […] and Apple will be launching theirs. By the big players’ actions this is a big market. In my previously expressed opinion, the first attempts to win this market have failed due to the manufacturers’ inability to […]

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