Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Pre-Apple Watch, the more time passes the less seems to happen

In some ways, many things have changed since I last wrote in this blog.

  • Android Fit is out in the Lollipop OS update, as is Apple's HeathKit
  • More Android Wear devices are out
  • Samsung has released a bunch more watches, and more significantly, a medically-advanced band reference design (Simband)
  • Apple Watch has been announced

But in many ways nothing has changed, nor is going to change for many months.

During this time, we can predict:

  • More Android-based hardware will be released, but there won't be a "killer design"
  • Samsung will continue its shotgun experimentation with consumer design
  • People will continue to rumourmill about Apple Watch

But the bottomline is everyone will be waiting for the Apple Watch launch to see how big the smartwatch market will actually be. At least 24 million, according to UBS.

In the meantime, niche parts of the market are shaping up in a very interesting way.

One example of this is the approach from current tracker leader Fitbit, which has carefully upscaled its range to just below smartwatch level (or fitness super watch as it labels it).

More significantly, its two future devices have constant heartrate detection, underlining that this is now a standard feature in the market.

Certainly, I'll be picking up a Charge HR band when they're released.

And similarly the other devices that are catching my eye are those that input some elements of smartwatch functionality within the classic watch aesthetic.

Prime example is current Indiegogo project Nevo (above), which is a nice analogue watch with Misfit-like activity indicator lights around the dial. It can also alert you to notifications. Best of all, it looks like a nice watch. 

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