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Wearables encompasses a wide variety of product types, all being driven by the smartphone supply chain and smartphone consumer adoption. Smartwatches and fitness devices are among the highest profile wearables, with an immediate impact on traditional watch vendors and technology OEMs alike.
Wearables are a bridge between mobile computers and emerging embedded IoT solutions, and are at a tipping point largely due to relentless technical innovation in smartphones and its impact on the supply chain. Smart watch use cases have been limited, and even the most successful vendor, Apple, only appealed to early adopters with its first watch. Better on-device software and IoT use cases will drive the category mainstream in the future, but manufacturers need a watch software platform with strong developer support to build out these use cases.
Avi Greengart, Research Director feels technology vendors have two choices: build their own platforms and try to attract developers, or license Android Wear. Apple, Google, Pebble and Samsung are the only platforms with sizable developer followings.
GlobalData in the report “Wearables – Fitness & Style Now, Mainstream Smart watches Later” examines wearables in context and focus on some of the key challenges and opportunities surrounding smartwatches for traditional watch vendors and technology OEMs. Then it brings in evidence from case studies including smartwatch investments by Samsung and Apple, fitness bands from Fitbit, and carrier retail support in the U.S. and Europe.
• Smart watches are emerging in the market at the same time as computing becomes ubiquitous. This presents vendors with a path forward – a smart watch is an ideal control point for IoT.
• Technology vendors have two choices: build their own platforms and try to attract developers, or license Android Wear. Apple, Google, Pebble and Samsung are the only platforms with sizable developer followings.
• For smart watches, vendors will have to bet on Google, as it is the only licensable platform with developer support.
• If Apple can deliver on the promise of watches 3, it should be able to harness its developer community to create use cases that drive sales. To sell the next generation of Watches, battery life must improve to allow always-on watch faces.
Companies Mentioned: Apple, AT&T, Fitbit, Vodafone Germany, Verizon, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile