The worldwide wearables market is adjusting as smartwatches continue to come to the forefront. In the coming years, smartwatches will encompass more features and functionalities.
How the watch industry has changed! As a show of its strength and popularity, Apple Watch has taken the crown, not just among smartwatches, but outselling the entire Swiss watch industry in Q4. Now, that’s quite an accomplishment!
Guess it was only a matter of time as Samsung Pay has been extended to the Gear 3 and Gear Sport. This will let consumers use their smartwatches, on top of their smartphones, to make purchases.
Samsung Pay on Gear is protected by Samsung Knox for enhanced security. It functions independently so users need not bring their phone along to make payment with their smartwatches. They can view their transaction record on Samsung Pay Plugin, an associated application for Samsung Gear.
In another development in Hong Kong, HSBC and Hang Seng Bank have become Samsung Pay partners. Both banks’ customers can start using Samsung Pay for their credit cards from November 2.
The Pebble Time may become a collector’s item if rumours of a Pebble takeover bid by Fitbit comes to pass.
Fanning the reports is the utter silence in the Pebble campaign page on Kickstarter. The last update was on October 27, leaving many supporters wondering if their contributions are in vain. Delivery is due January but with no response to supporters’ comments in a while, i looks like the project could be on the back burner while the deal is being worked out.
A check with Pebble’s website showed that all products listed online — watches and straps — are out of stock.
One of the hottest products recently is experiencing growing pains. Smartwatch shipment slid 51.6 percent to 2.7 million units in Q3 compared to the same period last year, according to IDC.
Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that Q3 was the first time Apple’s Watch had widespread retail availability after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of Q3.
“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning. Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of IDC’s Wearables team.
Seven and a half million smartwatches with cellular connectivity will ship in 2016, rising to 53.6 million in 2020, according to Canalys. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 63 percent from 2016 to 2020.
In the short term, shipments are likely to be driven by a new Apple Watch with cellular connectivity. Samsung and LG have been very aggressive in bringing new cellular technologies to market, with smart watches such as the Gear S2 classic 3G/4G and the Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, and will also play significant roles. Both the Tizen and Android Wear smart watch platforms already support cellular connectivity.
‘The phase 2 eSIM specification will enable more independent smart watches with a smoother user experience around cellular connectivity. Users will soon be able to easily choose among cellular providers and pay for monthly service. Many more smart watches with LTE and GPS/GNSS will also be released this year, thanks to the availability of new LTE Category 1 chipsets,” said Daniel Matte, Analyst of Canalys.
By Edward Lim
Following the slow demise of my Garmin Vivosmart, I went searching for a replacement. With so many options of both activity trackers and smartwatches available — including the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear S2 — I was spoilt for choice.
As the prices of smartwatches (OK, some) are really close to activity trackers, I decided to give smartwatch a shot. My main considerations were price (nothing above US$200), battery life and functionality.
After evaluating against my criteria, I decided to go with the Pebble Time. A fortnight after using the smartwatch and I’m delighted with my choice. Here are five reasons why I like it:
How much is one prepared to pay for the latest gadgets? US$3,000 for a high-end gaming notebook? US$1,000 for a top-of-the-line graphics card or smartphone? But, a smartwatch for US$17,000. That’s really over the top!
OK, it helps that its maker is Apple and that the world has been waiting for six whole months. Also, the Apple Watch will only be available in nine countries in April.
The Apple smartwatches come in three flavours — a US$350 entry-level Sport model, a steel model at US$500 and two 18-karat gold models going for US$10,000 (US$17,000 with a classy strap). At these prices, other smartwatch players can hold steady for now. For consumers though, let’s hope it doesn’t set a new benchmark for gadget pricing.
With vendors are rolling out new wearable devices at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it is not surprising that the market is set to boom.
In 2014, GfK noted that 13.5 million health and fitness trackers were sold globally compared to 4.1 million smartwatches. This year, that combined number is expected to jump 51.2 million units in 2015.
Last year, actual sales of health and fitness trackers (HFT) easily outstripped smartwatches. This was driven, in part, by the significantly lower average sales price of HFT, making these devices more affordable than full-feature smartwatches.
My first experience with a fitness band began exactly a week ago when I bought the Garmin Vivosmart at Sitex.
This was after much evaluation of the options available in the market. Essentially, wearables fall broadly into two categories — activity tracker and smartwatch. I wanted the look of an activity tracker (which I think looks cool) with the features of a smartwatch, especially notifications from smartphone.
The Garmin Vivosmart fits these requirements nicely. After one week of wearing it, I must say that its features have transformed my life in several ways.
Wearable electronic devices for fitness shipments are forecast to reach 68.1 million units in 2015, down from 70 million units in 2014, according to Gartner. This temporary dip in sales will be driven by an overlap in functionality between smart wristbands, other wearable fitness monitors and smartwatches.
However, the market for smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will rebound in 2016 because of versatile designs and models with lower-cost displays.
“Fitness wearables are used for tracking health, which goes hand-in-hand with fitness and wellness. Consumers will be able to integrate the data from most wearables into a single account where their data can be analysed using cognizant computing to provide useful insights to wearers.,” said Angela McIntyre, Research Director of Gartner.
Smartwatches are set to be more than health trackers with countries around the world exploring different potential.
According to a recent GfK survey, 54 percent of respondents are keen to use smartwatches for payment even though mobile payment using a smartphone to pay at the checkout with near field communication (NFC) technology hasn’t proved very popular so far.
Besides mobile payment, the survey covering China, Germany, South Korea, the UK, and the US, revealed taht people in these countries see potential in using smartwatches to “carry” tickets for passenger transport or as security keys to their computers and online accounts.