I have been bullish on smartwatches for over a year. Now that Pandora's box has been opened by Samsung and Qualcomm,
with Apple to follow soon (not to mention such "swallows" as Pebble), what is my view on wearables?..
Some industry analysts are saying that by 2020 the wearables market will be worth around $30-50bn. I think they are wrong: it is likely to exceed $100bn, and here's why.
More and more people are suffering from "smartphone fatigue". Even the mighty Apple does not excite us much anymore - there are too many lookalikes out there for one product to truly stand out. Whilst the mobile market is still locked in a "phone" mentality,
there are many strong reasons and use cases that make non-phone "wearable" devices a compelling proposition for consumers who crave the next best thing.
Wearables provide a good answer to such craving. They are "personal" devices where one size and shape and colour does not fit all. Hence, there will be a proliferation of models, styles and functions, with consumers owning more than one device. Which they
will be changing or upgrading frequently.
Smartwatches, glasses, key fobs, e-wallets, travel wallets, smart jewelry, smart accessories and, maybe, even smart implants is where the industry is heading to. The winners will be not the devices that cram in tons of functions (Samsung's Gear, with 10-hour
battery life is a joke - who needs a watch with a crappy phone experience that needs to be charged daily), but those products that don't place a cart (technology) in front of the horse (consumers). As Steve Jobs was always saying, start with user experience
and a specific problem to solve, then work backwards to the technology.
That's before we start talking about fashion and style - a critical factor when it comes to wearables. Samsung execs either didn't pay attention or ignored the fact that Apple hired
former Yves Saint Laurent CEO... Consumer don't want high-tech which is what Samsung is producing (well) - they want sexy cool things, they want a lifestyle dream.
"Wow" factor comes from design and UX, not from MHz and megabytes.
Back to the drawing board.