For Wireless Wednesday we looked at smart watches and the upcoming role they may be playing in the industry. Today we’re speculating at whether or not early smart watches will have LTE/cellular connectivity. Take a look at the excerpt from the @FierceWireless article pasted below–
While there remains disagreement about which companies will produce smart watches, there is nearly universal consensus that smart watches won’t have built-in cellular connectivity. Most likely, they will pair with smartphones via Bluetooth, just as headsets and other accessories do today.
Why? First, adding in an LTE radio will increase the cost of the device, not least because LTE modules are still expensive but also because the smart watch maker will need pay out fees for standards-based LTE patents.
Another reason LTE likely won’t be in smart watches at first is that it will drain away battery life. Even if the gadget has a smaller screen than a smartphone, having the LTE radio pinging the network and producing signaling traffic will lead to a decrease in battery life. “I see that being overcome, but not in the short term,” IHS analyst Shane Walker said. “It would just sap too much of the battery if you fold in GPS and all the other capabilities.”
However, analysts think eventually smart watches will have built-in cellular connectivity, even if it’s not this year or next year. Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin said he could envision smart watch makers putting GPRS or 3G technologies into smart watches. These slower speed wireless technologies would likely fit well in smart watches since a smart watch presumably would use less data than a smartphone, the radio would cost less than an LTE radio, and smart watches likely wouldn’t need voice capabilities.
Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin said adding cellular to smart watches “might be a little bit farther off than many realize,” but he said he envisions a day when modems are more modular and can be connected to whatever screens are handy, whether they are in your pocket or on your wrist. Walker said that if a smart watch did have LTE, there’s a plausible argument that it could serve as a smartphone replacement, at least for a certain segment of the market.
Throughout the week we’ll continue our smart watch coverage, focusing on the last two subjects, “will carriers sell smart watches in their stores”, and “what is the actual demand for smart watches”. Make sure and check back on our blog soon!
To read this entire article, click here.