Its About Time

by Jörgen Eriksson on September 13, 2014

Apple Watch

This week Apple introduced the Apple Watch, and as could be anticipated, it is a beautiful device. Packed with technology innovations, it is bound to be a best seller when it is available for purchase from Q1 2015.

What is to be expected from a smartwatch? Apple´s chief designer Jonathan Ive is reputed to have said that this new category of devices will kill the Swiss watchmaking industry.

I don´t believe so. I think that like many other innovations it caters to different needs and a different target group than the traditional quality time pieces fashion conscious people and collectors purchase from the classic Swiss manufacturers. It will be lower end international brands like Fossil and Movado who will be threatened by the new digital watches.

Digital watches are not something new. I remember I had a Seiko monochrome digital watch in the 1980s. A modern smartwatch, by contrast, is a computerized wristwatch with functionality that is enhanced beyond timekeeping. The processing power, memory and storage specifications are in par with high end computers just a few years ago, again proving Moore´s law that the power of computer hardware doubles every two years.

The smart watch concept is often compared to personal digital assistant (PDA) devices. Most of them also include health tracking functionality. For the Apple Watch it seems to integrate seamlessly with the iPhone through the Bluetooth 4 Low Energy band originally introduced in IOS 5, utilizing the iPhones processing power and instruments like the GPS, to limit the power consumption of the watch itself. The technology for the connection is the same as Knock use between the iPhone and MacBook computers.

Looking at the introduction video, narrated by Jonathan Ive in his well-measured voice, I think we can expect the Apple Watch to be a disruptive innovation as substitute for dedicated PDA´s and for digital watches in the same price range (USD 350), where the Apple brand, the iPhone integration and the design will be the main sales point factors. The wearable fitness market is in strong growth and far from saturated, so it will not hurt the Jawbone UP-band, Fitbit or other dedicated health trackers. At least not until it packs more technology and can track also other health measurement’s such as blood pressure.

Jawbone UpI stopped wearing a watch about two years ago, as I instead opted to use the Jawbone UP-band. Having this device to track my movements and sleep pattern on my iPhone has for me led to a healthier lifestyle and I am quite certain that it will take something like the Apple Watch which, includes health tracking functionality, to bring me back to wearing a timepiece on my wrist.

As the number of smartwatches on the market continues to grow, a few things are becoming clear. With many reviews focusing on how long models last between charges, manufacturers are trying to pack in more powerful batteries or find other ways to extend their life. What remains to be seen is how the manufacturers will position their offerings toward market segments and target groups. Like for any new market, that will take some serious market tests of consumer adoption to understand.

Below is a table with data and brief reviews of the most well known brands, courtesy from BBC.

Smartwatches Vital information What the experts say

Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Screen: 1.50in (3.80cm) and 1.65in (4.2cm)

OS: Apple Watch

Battery: Unknown

Sensors: Heart-rate monitor, gyroscope, accelerometer

Water resistance: Unknown

• Killer feature:

The Digital Crown, which allows users to navigate between apps, scroll through menus and zoom into information

• Cost: $349 (£216)

It is the most personal device that Apple’s ever created. The key innovation that Apple is touting is a breakthrough in input mechanics, using a Digital Crown on the Watch that can scroll, zoom, and navigate the user interface without obstructing the display.

– The Verge

Moto 360

Moto 360

Screen:

1.56in (3.96cm) LCD, 320×290 pixels

OS: Android Wear

Battery: 320mAh

Sensors: Pedometer,

optical heart-rate monitor, ambient light sensor

Water resistance: IP67 (up to 1m depth for 30 mins)

• Killer feature: The thin bezel and circular display, although the design has meant the bottom part of the screen remains dark

• Cost: £199

The Moto 360 is a big step forward for smartwatches, but it’s still not the excellent hardware we’re looking for. There’s a great design here, but it’s marred by a power-hungry processor that can’t keep up with Android Wear. The battery life and performance is a deal breaker.

– Ars Technica

 

LG G Watch R

LG G Watch R

• Screen:

1.30in (3.30cm) OLED, 320×320 pixels

OS: Android Wear

Battery: 410mAh

• Sensors: Accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, compass, PPG heart-rate monitor

Water resistance: IP67 (up to 1m depth for 30 mins)

• Killer feature:

Circular screen with the full screen displayed, but this requires a more bulky bezel than some rivals

• Cost: tbc

The G Watch R packs a solid, quality build and great, traditional time piece looks. It’s doesn’t quite match the premium feel of Asus’ ZenWatch, but the circular design is makes it feel a little less geeky and a little more stylish. If nothing else, it’s enough to make potential Moto 360 buyers think twice.

– Gizmag

 

Samsung Gear Live

Gear Live

Screen:

1.63in (4.1cm) OLED, 320×320 pixels

• OS: Android Wear

• Battery: 300mAh

• Sensors: Compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, heart-rate sensor

• Water resistance: IP67 (up to 1m depth for 30 mins)

• Killer feature: Samsung’s first watch to use Google’s new Android operating system, which allows it to be controlled by voice commands

• Cost: £169

Android Wear early adopters should go with the Samsung Gear Live over the less elegant LG G Watch, but know in advance that it’s far from perfect… The hardware has its hiccups with straps that are annoying to clasp together and, to make matters worse, you’ll be taking the watch on and off a lot because of its terrible one-day battery life.

– Techradar

Samsung Gear S

Samsung Gear S

• Screen:

2in (5.1cm) curved OLED, 360×480 (pixels)

• OS: Tizen

• Battery: 300mAh

• Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart-rate monitor, ambient light, ultraviolet light, barometer, GPS

Water resistance: IP67 (up to 1m depth for 30 mins)

• Killer feature: The watch can be fitted with a 2G or 3G Sim card, allowing it to make calls and function as a standalone device

• Cost: 299 euros ($385; £239)

  

The Gear S is the strongest Samsung wearable we’ve seen yet. It still has Samsung-device-only restrictions, which may limit its audience, and Tizen apps are in their infancy, but it’s otherwise a good-looking, well made watch. However, the default virtual watch face isn’t very attractive in our opinion and the large watch straps are something that we would change too.

– Pocket-lint

 

Sony SmartWatch 3

Sony Smartwatch 3

• Screen:

1.63in (4.1cm) LCD,

320×320 pixels

• OS: Android Wear

• Battery: 420mAh

• Sensors: Accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, GPS, ambient light

• Water resistance: IP68 (up to 2m depth for two hours)

• Killer feature: First Android Wear watch with GPS

• Cost: 229 euros ($295, £183)

Sony claims a two-day battery life, which isn’t a bad effort in comparison to its rivals but we would’ve liked a little longer between charges… We like the fact that the watch face can be popped out from the strap and the possibilities it suggests for the device’s future uses.

– T3

 

Asus Zenwatch

Asus ZenWatch

• Screen:

1.63in (4.1cm) OLED,

320×320 pixels

• OS: Android Wear

• Camera: None

• Battery: 369mAh

• Sensors: 9-axis, heart-rate monitor

• Water resistance: IP55 (can cope with jets of water but not being submerged)

• Killer feature: Reviews have praised the vibrant colours offered by its screen

• Cost: 199 euros ($257, £159)

The ZenWatch is a good effort from Asus, and represents a step in the right direction for smartwatches in terms of style…

However, with competition already stiff in the smartwatch sector, and more glamorous products already available at a similar price, we can’t picture everyone rushing out and buying one.

– PC Pro

 

Qualcomm Toq

Qualcomm Toq

• Screen: 1.55in (3.94cm) Mirasol, 288×192 pixels

• OS: Qualcomm

• Battery: 240mAh

• Sensors: Touch sensors built into the strap, pedometer

• Water resistance: Splash proof

• Killer feature: Qualcomm’s proprietary screen technology, which extends the device’s battery life

• Cost: $250 (£155)

The first issue I encountered with the Toq was figuring out how to put the watch on (not a good sign). The Toq features a rubber strap that you actually have to cut with scissors in order to fit your wrist… At this point, it’s much more of a demonstration of some of the technology that could power future smartwatches, rather than a viable product

– AllThingsD

Pebble Steel

Pebble Steel

• Screen:

1.26in (3.20cm) e-paper, 144×168 pixels

• OS: Pebble

• Battery: 140mAh

• Sensors: Accelerometer, compass, ambient light

• Water resistance:

5ATM (can be submerged up to 50m)

• Killer feature:

E-paper screen lets it work for up to a week without needing to be recharged

• Cost: $249 (£154)

This is a sturdy, stylish (still retro) design in either steel silver or matte black, and its got a pleasantly curved, Gorilla Glass-coated screen. In short, this the most discreet smartwatch you can wear… Nothing’s perfect – we’d like a slightly bigger (colour e-paper?) screen to fill the watch face and give some of Pebble’s new apps room to breathe.

– Stuff

 

Cookoo 2

Cookoo 2

• Screen:

1.7in (4.3cm), LED built into analogue watchface

• OS: Cookoo

• Battery: 225mAh

• Sensors: N/A

• Water resistance:

10 ATM (can be submerged up to 1000m)

• Killer feature:

Ability to last months on a standard button-cell battery

• Cost: $150 (£93)

Cookoo claims about a one-year battery life in standby or nine months with daily alerts. Not having to charge the watch is an awesome feature… For now the Cookoo feels unfinished to me. The device itself is solid overall, but the phone apps are still lacking to the point that the watch is unusable at times.

– Connectedly

 

About Jörgen Eriksson :

Jörgen Eriksson is the founder of Bearing and is the Chairman of the firm since it was created. He has successfully expanded Bearing into covering projects on four continents. He is also Adjunct Professor of Innovation Management at the International University of Monaco and at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona and he is an active member of the Founders Alliance organisation.

Working with consulting engagements across Bearings practices, he has over the past fifteen years participated in and supervised a large number of client projects, from innovation system development and place development and branding, to merger and acquisition assignments and leading edge research and business development activities for key clients.

His new book, Branding for Hooligans, will be published in 2015. It is about how innovation and branding are key survival factors in our modern times of hyper competitive markets.

Prior to Bearing, he was Director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Trema Treasury Management, a technology and consulting services provider, supplying financial software solutions for the global financial industry, Clients included The European Central Bank, Citibank, SEB, South African reserve Bank, Deutsche Bank, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), as well as many other large financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.

Early in his career Eriksson was educated at the Stockholm School of Economics, where he studied economics, financial economics and philosophy. He then worked in Scandinavian investment banks and also for the Swedish Institute of National Defense Research.

You can contact Jörgen on e-mail jorgen.eriksson@bearing-consulting.com, connect on LinkedIn on http://fr.linkedin.com/pub/jörgen-eriksson/0/38/8a0/ and follow him on twitter on joreri508.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Parinaz Alabaf September 13, 2014 at 09:15

Thanks Jorgen for sharing. I like Apple products. Is easy to use and useful. I believe these one will get the market as always.

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