For Wireless Wednesday we looked at smart watches and the upcoming role they may be playing in the industry. Today we’re looking at which companies will be playing in the smart watch field. Take a look at the excerpt from the @FierceWireless article pasted below–
Samsung seems like a sure bet as a player in the smart watch market, given the indications of its executives. (Editor’s Note: Click here for the Samsung’s Galaxy Gear announcement.)
Apple is also high on the list, for several reasons. Earlier this year the New York Times and other outlets, including Bloomberg, reported that Apple was working on a smart watch device. Bloomberg reported that, according to unnamed sources, Apple has about 100 product designers working on a device that may perform similar functions to the iPhone and iPad.
Apple CEO Tim Cook had this to say about wearable computing in May: “There’s nothing that’s going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch or whatever to wear one. Or at least I haven’t seen it. So I think there’s lots of things to solve in this space, but it’s an area where it’s ripe for exploration.” Further, Apple has been filing trademark applications for the term “iWatch,” hired fitness industry consultant Jay Blahnik, who helped develop Nike’s FuelBand, and also snapped up low-power silicon provider Passif Semiconductor, whose chips could be used in wearables.
Microsoft too is working on its own smart watch design, according to an April report in the Wall Street Journal. Microsoft has made its own hardware, such as the Surface tablet, though that hasn’t panned out well for the company thus far (Microsoft took a $900 million writedown related to Surface tablets in the second quarter). It’s also worth noting that Microsoft has a history of sorts in smart watches, thanks to its defunct Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) initiative, which used sideband FM signals to deliver information.
Google also has been mentioned as a potential smart watch player, including in a March Financial Times report, but for now seems to be focusing more of its attention in the wearables market on its Glass initiative. Even that might not be a long-term project, though, as Google may hope to license Glass to eyewear makers. “I’m not sure they want to be in the business of hardware for things like wearables,” Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin said. “Glass is a proof of concept.”
Who else will want to play in smart watches? Analysts said companies such as Nike, FitBit, Jawbone and I’m Watch may want to, especially if the device is not directly paired with an existing smartphone. “A watch could be a natural extension or a logical evolution of products they make today or an expansion of their product lineup,” Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin said.
IHS analyst Shane Walker said he could see traditional watch and consumer electronics companies such as LG Electronics, Seiko, Timex and Toshiba showing interest.
Meanwhile, IDC analyst John Jackson said the smart watch market could be attractive to any company interested in attracting consumer attention. “The thing about the watch is that it’s not a watch,” Jackson said. “It has the potential to be the world’s most regularly glanced at surface in the history of anything that gets glanced at–if it can be made to surface timely and relevant information.” Jackson noted such a device would need to be elegant, have solid battery life and an easy-to-use user interface: “I think the watch really is about eyeball aggregation,” he said. “Anybody whose primary business or near-primary business is eyeball aggregation is going to be interested in this.”
Over the next week we’ll continue to cover smart watches including topics like, will early smart watches have LTE/cellular connectivity, 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!
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