Wearables – Solution of nothing

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The market remains completely unready for wearables.

  • Samsung was first to market with a smart watch but shipments of the Galaxy Gear have been pathetically low.
  • Business Korea is reporting industry sources admitting to 800-900 units per day with a cumulative total of just 50,000 units.
  • Had this device been available only in Korea, I would not have been to worried, but the Galaxy Gear is available in most locations.
  • This is the clearest indication yet that the concept of a smart watch remains a solution looking for a problem.
  • I was in the audience of a wearables panel last week and the main conclusion of the panel (who were executives with plenty of skin in the wearables game) was the same: there is still no compelling use case for wearable computing beyond a pedometer that talks to your phone.
  • Beyond a simple remote control for a mobile phone, there is no reason to buy a smart watch and until someone comes up with a reason they will not sell.
  • There has to be a very compelling reason as watches are devices of high fashion and for many men it’s the only piece of jewellery that they can wear.
  • Hence I think that technology on the wrist has to have a large fashion element and in many circumstances that will require a known brand.
  • Neither Samsung nor Apple has a strong enough brand to sell a wristwatch on its own merit and so a really compelling use needs to be created to get users over the hump.
  • Apple is certainly the most likely company to come up with the use case that blows this segment wide open but its delay in launch makes me wonder whether it is struggling to find it.
  • Until we see that wonder moment, this segment is going to remain still-born but with interesting experiments.