Wearable technology is one of the next big markets for M2M and connected devices—with one analyst firm even forecasting 170 million wearable devices will be shipped in 2016. Samsung is looking to place its stake in this market. Will Apple be next?
Certainly by now you have likely heard the latest news—Samsung beat Apple to the punch, releasing Samsung GALAXY Gear this week.
The Samsung GALAXY Gear gives consumers most of what they would expect from a wearable watch: notifications of incoming messages, hands-free calling, and voice-memo features. It even has a 1.9 megapixel camera, among other unique capabilities.
Here are some features I like in GALAXY Gear:
• The Find My Device feature can help you locate your phone. If you are anything like me, and misplace your phone on occasion, this would be a helpful feature.
• The pedometer that can give you physical activity updates on your wrist. I like the idea of being able to monitor calories burned during a workout without having to pull out the phone.
• On a similar topic, hand-free calling with a smartwatch is a much-needed feature for runners and other athletes in my opinion. In case of emergency, a quick call can be made, without needing to fumble for the phone.
The Samsung GALAXY Gear isn’t the only smartwatch available. The market is quickly becoming saturated, with a number of big-name companies, such as Qualcomm and Sony, and even startups coming to market with their iteration of a connected timepiece for your wrist. In my opinion, Samsung’s GALAXY Gear might have more initial traction, as the Samsung brand has a very loyal following. However, the question remains: Where is Apple?
The race in the connected device space, if you want to call it that, between Apple and Samsung is an interesting one. Apple certainly had an advantage, with an early lead, but is no longer the first to market like it once was.
Let’s journey back 10 years. Apple’s go-to market strategy was to entice young consumers with its flashy, hip computers. This was before Apple was even a player in the connected device space—back when the iPhone and iPad were probably only an idea in Steve Jobs’ mind. But there was another device Apple used to lure consumers initially, the iPod. While the iPod isn’t connected, it paved the way for the iPhone and eventually the iPad.
Apple was so far on the leading edge that when I purchased my first Apple computer in the spring of 2003 and received a free iPod with the deal, I thought, “What the heck am I going to do this with this thing?” I was actually going to give it away to the first family member that jumped at it. After I played around with it for a bit, I was hooked, not only on the iPod, but on Apple, as were many other Americans.
My point here is this: Apple made a big play for the connected-device space early on. It reinvented smartphones and tablets with a focus on consumers, but even if Apple came out with its smartwatch next week, it is no longer leading the connected-device charge.
Others such as Samsung are stepping up in a big way—and I think consumers are beginning to notice. When I had an opportunity to test a number of connected products in the Samsung GALAXY Studio, I have to admit I could see why Apple might be losing some of its followers. Samsung and others are coming out strong with new devices, and the GALAXY Gear smartwatch is one indication of this.
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