A few years ago, there were probably people who thought that the smartwatch would be the next big thing, and we’d all leave our smartphones at home in favor of something more portable. But here we are, 4 years after the announcement of the original Samsung Galaxy Gear, and I would struggle to list 10 people who wear a smartwatch daily. While they may be more common in other circles, the fact is, smartwatches have nowhere near the gravity that smartphones do.
Many people have discussed the reasons why there is less consumer interest in smartwatches. Common reasons include:
- Too expensive
- Unimpressive battery life
- Too few features
- Not enough to differentiate from a smartphone
- Too inconvenient to interact with
After owning several smartwatches, and being ultimately impressed with what they are capable of, I have come to some of my own conclusions on why they are less popular.
- Before the Apple Watch came in and convinced everyone that a square watch is attractive, manufacturers struggled to design smartwatches that didn’t look clunky and techy.
- Until the new Apple Watch Series 3, only a few Android Wear and Samsung Gear watches came with cellular capability.
- In order to add a cellular watch onto your carrier contract, it is often $10/month, which is incredibly expensive considering most people consider it an accessory to their phone.
- Here, I describe the evolution of personal devices, but in summary, smartphones still are in an awkward gap between personal computers and portable connectivity, which prevent smartwatches from being the optimal portable device.
So if they are so imperfect, why do I have so many of them?
- If it isn’t clear enough from other posts on this site, I love technology.
- Just like smartphones and computers, I believe that smartwatches have different functionalities and capabilities that make them good for different environments. Some smartwatches are designed for fitness, with sweatproof bands, integrated GPS, and accurate heart rate sensors. Others are made to look nice, and replace a traditional watch. Others are made for functionality, with dedicated on-device apps that allow you to do things without needing your phone.
- My tendency to switch phones so often leaves a fault in my smartwatch usage. Since many smartwatches can only connect fully with one phone at a time, I have to dedicate a smartwatch for each phone I use, unless I want to reset my watch every time I switch phones. This is not an issue I see most people having.