Is it Time for Smart Watches? Part 5

weBoost | November 20, 2013

Today for Wireless Wednesday we’re finishing our discussion on smart watches from this @FierceWireless article. Last time we looked at if carriers would possibly sell smart watches in their stores or not. If you missed it, take a look at that post here. Today we’re finishing things off by talking about what the actual demand for smart watches is. Is now the time for smart watches? Take a look at the excerpt from the @FierceWireless article pasted below–

“So is there any actual demand in the market for smart watches? Or is it all hype at this point? IHS analyst Shane Walker said IHS predicts that through the end of 2014 smart watches will sell in the “low millions” of units, worldwide. Currently, shipments of “sports and fitness” monitoring devices such as Nike’s FuelBand and the FitBit are approaching 50 million units annually. Juniper Research predicts app-enabled smart watch shipments will reach 36 million per year by 2018, compared to just over 1 million this year.

Still, it seems like a market in search of demand to many analysts. IDC analyst John Jackson said the positioning for smart watches could be as an intelligent personal assistant for digital natives, “an app whose job it is to learn you and tell you what you need to know and when you need to know it.”

“It’s a category that wants to solve a problem that people aren’t sure they have right now,” he said. “And not just anyone can have that conversation with the populace.” The key, analysts said, will be what services such a watch can provide, so that it’s not just a second screen. Walker said such devices could add in altitude, biometric sensing, environmental sensors and other bells and whistles to make it a more compelling product category. Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin said the concept of a screen extension for a smartphone, such that users do not need to fish their phones out of their pockets or their bags, should not be dismissed outright though. “There is a great deal of convenience and a nice user experience in that part,” he said. The biggest hurdle may be that there is no antecedent for a data-enabled watch in the collective consumer consciousness, said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin. With smartphones, consumers could remember their experiences with feature phones and landline phones before that. With tablets they had the PC to look back to for familiarity. Watches have evolved mainly as fashion items. “It’s a lot different because this would truly be a brand new category the likes of which he haven’t really seen before,” he said. “Even if something comes out and is super, super relevant and super super innovative, it’s just going to take some time to get into the broader market.”

What are your thoughts on smart watches? Are they something that interest you? Did you enjoy our smart watch coverage? Let us in our comments below, or on Facebook/Twitter.

To read this entire article, click here.