The marketing people for the likes of Samsung and Apple have a distinct image of their users: quirky, wealthy types whose paid employment seems to consist of snowboarding, organising brightly-coloured street demonstrations, and capturing every second of it on film for their legions of followers to gawk at. For all the fantasy lives they project, is the Average Joe really what such big players have in mind when they create their latest gadget? And if you don’t live in the outback or the mountains, and don’t have the opportunity to make rock-climbing a regular activity, do you really need a Smartwatch?
Ten years ago, people thought similarly of mobile phones. They were just supposed to be for calls and messages, so why were all of these ridiculous functions being added to a communication device? Now that mobiles are the indisputable staple item, attention has been paid to other techie accessories, and seeing what they can do next. Smartwatches seem to have been intended as a product for people too busy (whether with mountaineering or business meetings) to properly use their phones. Hooking up wirelessly, they can communicate notifications, messages, calls, and such, as well as hosting a huge selection of apps for a multitude of uses. However, when you could end up paying hundreds for a smartwatch, it’s worth being sure that it’s of use to you.
The Smartwatch Expanding Market
Although initially developed from the earlier incarnations of rubber wristband pedometers, Smartwatches are no longer just for sportspeople. The increasing focus on app compatibility has seen a transformation take hold, turning Smartwatches into mini phones, and with particularly modern additions like contactless pay, the potential market for Smartwatches is widening. But even so, it constitutes a phone accessory, that is largely pointless without a phone, and somewhat pointless with one. The majority of Smartwatches currently connect to phones or other devices, supporting their call, message and notification functions. However, with Samsung’s Gear 3 making its debut as the market’s only standalone Smartwatch, a new audience could soon emerge.
Do you really need a smartwatch?
In spite of the expanding reach and functions of Smartwatches, it seems that smartwatches are probably best suited for active people. Most models have built-in pedometers, heart monitors and the like, and can support fitness apps that track and record your activity. These are very nifty devices whether you’re a PE teacher, personal trainer, or simply want to improve your health in small doses throughout the day.
The extent to which these functions are used will depend on the individual, but at this point, Smartwatches don’t do enough independently to justify a place on the Christmas lists of non-athletes, whose phones already do all they want or need.
But that’s just our opinion. What do you think – do you really need a smartwatch?