When the Pebble watch was released in 2013, it looked like a new breed of small tech companies was going to snatch the market before tech giants could get their acts together. Pebble was a small company that relied on crowdfunding for research and development.
Pebble has since been acquired by Fitbit, and the Smartwatch market has been thoroughly cornered by larger, more established tech companies. Apple controls a huge portion of the emerging smartphone market, which really began exploding in 2014.
The California giant arguably makes the most useful devices on the market – with Apple watches boasting interoperability with the popular iPhone devices.
Finding a Use
During the early development of smartwatches, one problem became all too clear: what was the actual use of a watch that could fill the same niche as a phone? Smaller companies had trouble integrating actual real-world uses for their devices.
Most consumers already had a smartphone, and this meant that a smartwatch seemed like a waste of money. What the larger companies like Apple and Samsung managed to do was promote interconnectivity between their watches and their flagship devices.
This gave them a huge advantage because phone users would often stick to the brand that made their smartphone when buying a watch to ensure they had a fully connected system.
This connectivity allowed major companies to promote their smartwatches as upgrades or add on ‘booster’ units to their phones to help users carry out specific tasks.
A good example of this strategy is Apple’s continuous promotion of their watch as a convenient way to use Apple Pay in conjunction with the iPhone.
Tech giants could afford to market their watches as specialist devices because customers were already aware of the capabilities that these smartphones offered.
The Development of Apple Watches
Apple’s smartwatch was a hit from the start. Time magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2014 and praised the utility of the device, as well as the daring design choices made in development.
A comparison of all Apple watches reveals that progress has been steady from model to model, a sensible route to take for a company with such a stranglehold on the industry.
Skipping ahead too fast has often lead to failure when society refuses to accept drastic changes to how we interact – such was the case with Google Glass. Successful technology is incremental, not instant.
Tech giants such as Apple have huge experience in developing and releasing technology on a sliding and sensible scale, and this could explain why they are now so dominant in the smartwatch market. Of course, having enviable resources and an army of loyal customers might have helped a bit too.
Whoever dominates the market, it is clear that smartwatches are here to stay, and we will be wearing fascinating and ever-changing pieces of technology on our wrists far into the future.