Apple Watch: Is Wearable Tech A Hype Or Reality?
Well, Apple’s venture into the not-so-crowded smartwatch market with Apple Watch has already led to debates on the future of wearable computing. With time, Apple will get to know if it made a smart move.
Sure, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Pebble have already launched smartwatches with impressive features. Despite their claimed numbers, consumer reaction to the devices speaks a different story. According to reports, over 1.2 million Android watches were sold in 2013 and Pebble claims to have sold over 400,000 smartwatches since January 2013.
While smartphone has emerged as a must-have device, wearable technology, especially smartwatches, is yet to be an accepted phenomenon. A report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) states that mobile phones will outnumber human population by the end of 2014, reaching a staggering 7.3 billion from the current 6 billion. It certainly took couple of years for smartphones to reach there.
Right now, smartwatches are mostly considered as additional devices that assist phones. But that doesn’t mean that they lack the potential to rise with increased awareness about the technology advances in the wearable computing market.
That’s basically because success of wearable doesn’t necessarily depend on the hardware alone. Forrester analyst Julie A. Ask is quoted in NYTimes as saying: “Success will hinge on the associated mobile apps and how effective they are in changing behavior through the right data, insights and recommended actions in consumers’ mobile moments.”
That’s precisely why many analysts are bullish on the wearable technology market, even as smartwatch manufacturers are struggling to keep the prices reasonably low. Pebble claims to have over 1000 apps on its smartwatch. While smartwatches don’t operate as standalone gadgets, consumers in price-conscious countries like India feel they are expensive for what they offer.
While Samsung Galaxy Gear is Rs 16900 after 26% off on Flipkart, Pebble watch is priced at Rs 18,000. The prices seem high when compared with smartphone prices which have come down drastically. Though the prices are comparatively on higher side, there is an opportunity for smartwatch makers to make the gadget user-friendly and worth a buy by combining appropriate apps with better experience.
There is a community of fitness freaks that is keen to adopt these wearable gadgets. You might say there are already fitness apps on phones, but having one on the wrist makes it a different stylish experience. At least, that saves the trouble of keeping one in the pockets.
The same ease-of-use applies to payments in a mall or a coffee shop. The mobile payment option on smartwatches means you wear your wallet on the wrist. All that it requires is a swipe.
Above all these, success of wearable technology cannot be entirely based on features, but there is a need to make it wanted by consumers. The author of ‘Start With Why’ and Leaders Eat Last’ Simon Sinek has rightly said: “Don’t make what your consumers want, but make what they believe in.”
Whether Apple proves its magic touch with its hyped Watch or not, wearable technology is here to stay. Do let us know your thoughts on the future of wearable technology.
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