Smartwatches release everywhere have constantly been welcomed with some kind of « meh » moment. While being constantly underestimated and undervalued, those devices have inexorably invaded the consumer market and created its very own niche. Although they are sometimes regarded as gimmicky and weak appealing products, we at Claudette Magazine have found several reasons why this end of year looks very promising for the connected watch market.
1. The Apple Watch 2 might be a blast
A year and a half after its launch, the success of the Apple Watch, unfairly considered a failure for a long time, cannot be denied: with 12 millions unit sold in 2015 and a 64% market share, Apple actually stands at the top of the smartwatch game. Now that the lifecycle of the first version is coming to an end, it’s probably time for the brand to iterate and bless the market with a new one this fall. Our guess is that, if on the one hand, the first version of the Apple watch enabled the brand to conquer this tech segment, it had a second key objective: gather insights in order to create a smart device that will find its very own purpose and be able to be constantly connected to the web without the help of a smartphone. As a result, we are expecting Apple to release a cellular connected version of its smartwatch, through the integration of a cellular radio (hopefully LTE), which will then become far more than an accessory. Enabling it to bear direct cellular and wi-fi connections plus a GPS radio (thus, a larger but thinner watch), expect this new version to give access to 2 groundbreaking options : autonomous phone calls and voice navigation assisted by Siri, making it the perfect device for welcoming the conversational interface area. An unprecedented move enabled by cellular connectivity which, if our predictions are true, might empower Apple’s smartwatches and help them go mainstream.
2. Google’s Project Soli 2.0 is coming
Announced last year at Google’s annual I/O developer conference, the Project Soli consist in the integration of a singular chip that might be integrated to smartwatches and many other connected devices, where it can be embedded (e.g. phones, computers, cars,…). The project in itself consists in a gesture tracking, sensing technology that uses miniature radar to detect gesture interaction, at high speed and with great accuracy. The Soli chip emits electromagnetic waves in a broad beam which, when objects within its ray scatter the energy, reflects some position towards the radar antenna. Thanks to this, people might soon be able to interact with their Android powered smartwatches allowing them, for instance, to scroll through messages by using their hand from a distance. The watch will then respond to the proximity of the hand and allow the use of several types of controls with a simple, universal set of gestures.
Search has changed the way we live and interact with the world around us. We use it everyday and it’s our go-to click when a question arises. Both of these possibilities, be it by voice or gesture, are aiming, in my honest opinion, at initiating a movement: reinvent computing interface, in line with the global mission of making the web even more easier. Indeed, speech and gesture are both ubiquitous languages that might allow people to control their devices with effortless forms of interactions. Moreover, the latest Mary Meeker Internet Report made it clear: by 2020, at least 50% of all searches are going to be either through images or speech. Taking into account those opportunities, we believe that the next smartwatches to be released will embody another step toward the future of search, probably bringing us at the dawn of another internet revolution, with gesture and conversational interfaces at its core.
4. Price points are about to drop, making smartwatches go mainstream
Taking into account the facts that smartphones sells are globally slowing down and traditional watches keep on losing market shares, we might consider that this segment is ripe for growth. As for smartphones, the market might naturally react to an increased number and types of competitors, plus a possible widening of product ranges, at least for its top 5 brands, forcing smartwatches to become more accessible in the near future, at retail prices more affordable for larger groups of individuals. Also, this might help smartwatches brands to avoid the « Tech douchebag » or « Glasshole » effect and get closer to the Back to the Future cool.
5. Last but not least: smartwatches will find their singular purpose
For all the previous reasons, we reasonably think the smartwatch market is on the verge of triggering a major societal and cultural shakeup, thus becoming an inescapable companion in people’s daily lives. Now that each brands has found its very own form of aesthetic expression and installed themselves durably on the market (dealing, as a result, a critical blow to the rest of the watch & jewelry market), the next objective now is about finding a specific usage to it. Keep in mind that in the industry, tech and innovation aren’t about the looks, but functionality and purpose.
Therefore, we expect these devices to grow to the point of impacting our lives and the industry as a whole, making people quicker, better and wiser, all of this while finding uses in other areas beyond communications and health. Let’s hope that the future of smartwatches lives up to our expectations.
Post written by Allan Joseph, Branding Strategist & Menswear Editor
After graduating from Toulouse Business School in 2012 and having multiple experiences as a Freelancer during 3 years, Allan works currently as a Strategist for Be Angels Agency. Specialized in Luxury marketing & advertising, he collaborated to the notorious book « La Génération Y et le Luxe » and joined Clausette Magazine in December 2015.