The Smartwatch calm before the storm?
It probably all started if you exclude the James Bond secret service type technologies around 1997 with the Seiko wrist computer called Message Watch becoming ausgeliefert.
The Seiko Message Watch was basically a pager condensed into the size and shape of a watch. It had a two line display and short messages could be delivered. The watch experienced quite a boom in popularity in the late nineties. However due to a number of Y2K bugs in the Message Watch system the service was discontinued on 31.12.1999.
It wasn’t until 2013 when the smartwatch (watches with internet connectivity) revolution more or less started with the Kickstarter crowdfunded campaign for the Pebble SmartWatch startup.
The Pebble smartwatch campaign triggered quite a frenzy raising $1 million in the first 30 minutes in the market when Pebble came seeking $100K and got $10.3 Million. Pebble Time’s goal of raising $500K achieved $20 Million from 78.471 investors.
Three out of the four biggest amounts raised on Kickstarter are for the smart watch pioneer’s products.
Having been such a great “ausverkauft” hit with Kickstarter it is shockingly ironic that due to various reasons they became the biggest failure of Kickstarter and burned them badly in the process as it left them looking like a cheap publicity stunt outfit in the financial revolution we were promised.
“Let’s Face it: Smartwatches Are Dead” exclaimed a headline in Variety on 05.12.16. Business insider almost contemporaneously declared “Wearables Are Dead”.
That was just a minor setback for smartwatches with the collapse of Pebble. However Fitbit pounced on the opportunity and quickly took over the company and has been ever since strengthening and consolidating its position with fitness smartwatches.
(image from Amazon)
The actual Smartwatch revolution started with the infamous Apple Watch released in 2015. Expectations were very high for the Apple Watch – which was expected to kickstart the smartwatch revolution, just like the iPhone did with smartphones. Although Apple have taken up the largest share of the smartwatch market, they have by no means brought the level of success to smartwatches which they had done to smartphones with the iPhone. In 2014 there were 4.2 million units in worldwide smartwatch sales according to Int’l Data Corp research and this rose up to 19.4 million units in 2015 when the Apple Watch was introduced with 11.6 million units sold.
Many people wonder why the Apple Watch wasn’t aptly branded as the iWatch which would have put it in line with its other product portfolio lines such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. However the “iWatch” trademark was owned by OMG Electronics who were crowdfunding a “iWatch” designated device at the time.
So we all have gathered by now that smartwatches have not yet caught on in the way that people expected them to. However in anticipation to the next leg up we visit Baselworld 2018 where traditionally legacy watches and jewellery are exhibited but now tech brands flaunting high-tech smartwatches and hybrids are flocking to.
Big debuts were given to for example:
Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
image from www.hublot.com
The referees’ Hublot numbered smartwatch comes with in addition to the features of the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia features amazing extras connected to goal-line technology and electronic video assistance confirming whether the ball crossed the line or not.
Its gotta be one of the coolest hi-tech adventure watches out there looking really high end and sporty at the same time. Very sturdy and weatherproof suitable for the job at hand.
The bezel is so cool as it is actually very useful in being meant to be used as part of a powerful compass feature to help navigate when out and about adventuring all over the place.
Also included UV indicator, thermometer and various phone and message notifications amongst other useful features.
image from www.techradar.com
A very simple yet elegant looking hybrid smartwatch with limited features including step count and various discreet caller and message notifications linked to your smartphone.
Important contacts can be allocated a number to which both the dials point to with added vibration when there is are phone or message notifications.
Remarkably light and comfortable with an estimated battery life of around 6 months being a hybrid.
The Analogue hybrid smartwatch comes in two versions, one with a dark brown leather strap and a dark blue face and the other a titanium link-style strap with greyish colour dial.
image from www.techradar.com
The new Mondaine Helvetica hybrid smartwatch for 2018 boasts a two year battery life and the watch face dial based on the Helvetica regular font. Very slim and comfortable at 40 mm with ingenious letter notification system on the face dial and discreetly buzzes to help decode what type of alert has been received.
image from www.wareable.com
Only a couple of years ago the smart money was on Apple killing off the Swiss watch industry with the smart watch. Not to say that the Apple Watch has been a success which it has but it hasn’t been the industry defining device that many had imagined it would be.
The reason that some may declare that the smartwatch revolution is over has been nicley articulated by Huawei CEO Eric Xu Zhijun. He said despite making smart phones and smart watches “I am always confused as to what smartwatches are for when we have smartphones.”
Many see wearing the smartwatch which are by default connected to the smartphone unattractive as they only duplicate what is already on the phone. Eric Xu Zhijun goes further to state that he wouldn’t wear a smartwatch, even though his company makes them.
The Apple Watch 2 incorporated fitness tracking functionalities into the watch signalling to traditional Swiss and Japanese watchmakers that the time was right to jump in with both feet in order to create the hybrid smartwatches niche.
In considering what needs potential smartwatch users may have electronics firms like Samsung and Huawei have released their own smartwatches recently in response to the threat of Apple cleaning up the market as they did with the iPhone, iPad and iPod.
In conclusion as the initial excitement of smartwatches allowing all that technology onto your wrist has settled down we await that revolutionary and unique functionality to encapsulate the masses in an embrace which is taken up and takes off like a rocket differentiating itself from the smartphone as it is today.
Maybe this could be in the form of a smartwatch and smart glasses interacting with each other with bluetooth iris command technology.
Or rather would there be any need of the smartwatch if all could be incorporated into such smart glasses with all kinds of 3D augmented, virtual and god knows what else realities!
Until then keep an eye on www.ispebbleshipping.com for the next generation of solutions.