SmartWatch: To Be Or Not To Be?

Posted on May 18, 2013 by Nikhil P Naik

Back in the 16th century the first really personal gadget in the history of mankind was invented. This gadget was a wristwatch. It got wide popularity later on, in the epoch of industrialization, when people needed to know precise time. But today, in the 21stcentury, the need for wristwatch is not that acute, as they have been replaced by smartphones, which have much more functions, one of which is to tell time. Well, expensive watch is still a part of a business suit and a symbol of owner’s high status, but there’s no real need in them anymore. But now they have a great chance to come back.

Combining a watch and a cell phone is not a new idea, and such gadgets have been at the market for a couple of years already – We are talking about the Smartwatch. It began with the success of Pebble, which is a watch with e-ink screen. At the beginning of 2013 Pebble has only began to reach their first owners, when it turned out that the biggest companies at the mobile devices market, such as Google, Microsoft, Samsung, have started the development of similar gadgets.

pebble watches

According to some rumors circulating around the web, even Apple is developing its own variant of computerized watch. But still the company doesn’t confirm any of these rumors. Nevertheless, Apple has already made a step in this direction – previous generation iPod Nano can be turned into a clock dial and third party developers even have begun to release wristlets for them. New iPod Nano has a different form-factor and can’t turn into a clock dial. So it’s pretty possible that the company will continue the development of a separate smartwatch.

But the main question remains the same: will the smartwatch 2.0 be really popular? Their main purpose is to be an additional source of notification which will always be at hand. It may be really comfortable: you won’t have to pull your smartphone out of the pocket, just take a glance at your wrist. Surely, it will be difficult to write a response on a tiny smartwatch screen, but sometimes all you need is to be notified.

Now let’s talk about disadvantages. The first one, and very serious, in my opinion, is that a lot of attention will be paid to the appearance of a smartwatch. Clumsy but functional model will hardly be in high demand. That’s why the companies which have great designers will have a competitive advantage. But at the same time, I think that it will be impossible for one company to occupy the leading positions in this niche (the way iPad, for example, did), because people will buy different gadgets just because of differences in design.

Another interesting direction in smartwatch development is combining such watches with bracelets for checking different body parameters. Such gadgets as Jawbone Up and Nike Fuelband are pretty popular, and adding a notification screen to them can bring additional profit.

jawbone and fuelband

But here some interesting questions appear. If really needed, why first smartwatch models didn’t sell like hot pancakes? And why manufacturers still pay attention to their developments regardless of the unsuccessful starting campaign? The possible answers are that the development of smartphones has reached its peak: it’s hard to add anything there, and characteristics improvements are not the best way to sell devices. And then, modern technologies allow creating really great smart watches that will be able to perform a lot of functions.

Another possible problem of these devices can be energy consumption. Surely you don’t want to charge your watch every day-two the way you charge a smartphone. Pebble developers have solved this problem with the help of e-ink screen. But modern chips consume less and less energy and Bluetooth 4.0 standard is also quite energy saving.


Personally I don’t think that smartwatch will be a very popular product. Nevertheless, I suppose that they will occupy their niche at the market, as they may be quite useful. So let’s wait and see what manufacturers will offer us.

Authors bio: Eugene Rudenko is a copywriter for IT company Intellectsoft (visit their site to learn more about them), a leading developer of iPhone apps in UK and US.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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