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AH Primetime: Why The Smartwatch Can Become The Next Big Thing

January 28, 2014 - Written By Patrick Northcraft

Ever since a watch has been given more purpose than just telling time in 1900’s film, our imagination has run rampant with what wrist-based technology could actually do.  Let’s just take a second to analyse the positive things out there.  There is a $2.5 billion market for wrist-worn tech that is currently being used by smart fitness bracelets and certain smart watches like the Kickstarter-funded Pebble.  The biggest problem facing the wearable smart tech movement is a plague that affects all new technologies:  price.  I mean, if you think about it, the first smartphones were extremely expensive and not all that powerful.  Now, we have options like the Nexus 5 that gives you a crazy amount of bang for your buck.  I honestly believe that eventually, smart watches and other wearable techs will soon be in the latter category and will start to sell.

Here’s why:  A smart watch is simply adding new functionality to a device that already has been digitized.  The number of people who have digital wristwatches has been increasing, while the number rocking an old-school analog watch, like myself, as been decreasing.  Adding new functionality to a watch is not as crazy as a concept as, say, Google Glass, which is completely changing the idea of glasses.  A smartwatch is nowhere near as alien an idea, and will be much more digestible by the general public, should the price come down.  Also, the pairing of a watch and a phone could be one of the most brilliant things ever thought of.  Think about it… it’s a well-known fact that the biggest battery drainers of modern smartphones are their large, beautiful HD screens.  I know that every time my phone vibrates or rings, I pull it out of my pocket and turn on the screen to see the notifications.  The super majority of the time it only vibrated or rang to let me know that I received an email.  While I could just turn off email notifications, sometimes I need them to let me know of an urgent event.  The ideal compromise here would be to have a second device that does not drain as much battery life, while at the same time showing me my notifications without me turning on and off my screen many times a day unnecessarily.  This device already exists on the market, and is called the smartwatch.

Statistically, smartwatches are in a great place of potential right now.  Business Insider projects that 91.6 million smartwatch units will be sold around the world in 2018.  With an average selling price at that point, of hopefully no more than $100, that would equate to a massive $9.2 billion dollar market by 2018.  For those of you who may be Business Insider subscribers, you can view their in-depth analysis spreadsheet through the source link below.

It has been a rocky start for the smartwatch movement, to say the least.  The Galaxy Gear, Samsung’s attempt to enter the fold of wearable tech, was not as much of a success as they had hoped it would be.  Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, said back in May 2013 that “I think the wrist is interesting.”  That statement does not only show us that there is potential in the wrist market, but also that there is a perfectly valid chance that Apple may enter into the market.  If that were to happen, then we would definitely see some shake-up in how wrist tech is received.  Apple has millions of dedicated customers that purchase the latest Apple device, just because it is the latest Apple device.  If Apple were to release a smartwatch in the near future, it would definitely increase the popularity of such a device, plus it would stimulate other manufacturers to come out with more mass-market products in order to prevent an Apple monopoly on the market.

Regardless of how you look at it, the biggest thing holding the smartwatch industry back is the price.  I for one was very interested in purchasing a Galaxy Gear last year for Black Friday, but the price drove me away.  I imagine many other people had a similar experience.  As soon as wearable tech comes down into a price range where the average person can easily afford it, that’s when it will take off.  But that’s enough of my ranting.  What do you think?  Do smartwatches have a chance?  Would you by one if they were much cheaper than they are now?  Let us know in the comments!

Source:  Business Insider