Failure to launch: a few reasons why smartwatches haven’t caught on

by: Mark HearnFebruary 10, 2015
LG G Watch Sony Smartwatch 3 Moto 360 LG G Watch R Android Wear-6

My first encounter with a smartwatch was about 25 years ago. It was 1990 and I was in a crowded movie theater watching the movie Dick Tracy with my family. Set in the 1930s, the film’s title character, portrayed by Warren Beatty, was a no-nonsense detective who fought crime while sporting a high-tech wristwatch equipped with a two-way radio. As an impressionable kid with a budding love for technology, it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen.

Fast-forward to the present, where Hollywood’s movie magic is pretty much a reality. Smartwatches are now widely available to consumers, but despite my fascination with futuristic timepieces as a child, I’ve yet to purchase one. And I’m definitely not alone. Recently, smartwatch maker Pebble announced that it had sold over 1 million units, which is definitely an impressive feat, however this milestone is over the course of two years. When you compare this figure to the millions of smartphones sold each month, it’s almost laughable. 

My first encounter with a smartwatch was about 25 years ago. It was 1990 and I was in a crowded movie theater watching the movie Dick Tracy with my family.

Arguably the most recognizable smartwatch producer on the planet, Pebble’s lackluster start hasn’t stopped other companies from jumping on the wearable bandwagon. Tech superpowers like Samsung, LG, Sony and Motorola have been cranking out smartwatches faster than they can sell them. So why aren’t consumers biting? Here’s my take.

Smartwatches Aren’t Really a Standalone Product

samsung galaxy s5 aa gear fit neo smartwatches

Unlike Dick Tracy’s telephone-esque timepiece, the majority of smartwatches are not capable of placing voice calls on their own. In fact, most of them need to be tethered to an Internet-connected smartphone in order to operate at full capacity. This may not be a complete deal breaker for everyone, however some people aren’t too keen on this setup.

Add in the fact that most smartwatches are currently priced from $200 to $300, and this watered down extension of a smartphone experience really starts to become a tough sell.

I mean think about it. Have we as people really gotten so lazy that our smartphones need a butler? In a sense that’s what modern smartwatches are. Fans of these luxury items will argue otherwise and say they’re about convenience. “I get so many emails and text messages!” But is pulling your phone out of your pocket really that much of a chore?

Have we as people really gotten so lazy that our smartphones need a butler?

This is my biggest gripe about smartwatches as a whole. They don’t really bring much to the table. Yes, they’re cool in theory and maybe even in demonstration, but what can you really do with one that can’t be done better with a smartphone? People most likely recognize this and simply want more.

Not that fashionable

Sony Smartwatch 3-13

Another thing stifling the smartwatch’s growth is its appearance. If you’re looking for an attractive intelligent timepiece your choices are very limited. Most of these devices are very masculine in appearance, so if you’re a lady seeking something softer, things are even worse. Is it just me or do most smartwatches look like exercise gear? I’d say the Moto 360, LG G Watch R and Pebble Steel are the best looking hardware from the lot, but they still lack the crossover appeal that a traditional watch has to offer.

A Few Ideas That Might Help


Smartwatches aren’t necessarily on the brink of extinction, but they’ll need to evolve in order to endure the years ahead. One of the changes I’d like to see going forward are more self-sufficient devices that don’t require a smartphone for complete use. Yes, there are already products on the market like the Samsung Gear S, but I’m talking about devices with advanced network capabilities (mainly LTE) and possibly even the ability to place voice calls via a Bluetooth headset. While this sounds a bit silly, it may be a viable option for people who like to travel light.

Additionally, the smartwatch market needs watches that look more like… watches. The LG G Watch R is my personal favorite design so far, but some people may prefer something with more of a sleek build.

Smartwatches aren’t necessarily on the brink of extinction, but they’ll need to evolve in order to endure the years ahead.

Another challenge holding smartwatches back is how much they cost. Most devices are priced on a par with high-end on-contract smartphones, but they only offer a fraction of the functionality. The majority of casual consumers are just starting to wrap their heads around the concept of paying a few hundred bucks for a powerful smartphone or tablet. If these wearables are to catch on with the masses, manufacturers will need to find a sweet spot. I’d say that $100 to $150 is a reasonable price range. Last year, Pebble announced permanent price cuts for its product line, making its entry-level watch only $100. Hopefully some of the Kickstarter-created company’s competitors will soon follow suit.

Another possible springboard for smartwaches would be a device made by Google. The company already has a history of producing its own flagship hardware, so a Nexus watch would be an ideal showpiece to market Android Wear’s capabilities. While some people are gearing up for Apple’s first foray into the world of smartwatches, a timepiece directly from Mountain View almost seems imminent.

Final Thoughts


Modern smartwatches are still in their early days. Software platforms like Android Wear, Pebble OS and Tizen will only get better with time, but early adopters are going to encounter growing pains along the way. This may not discourage hardcore tech fans seeking the next big thing, however average consumers will definitely be a bit more hesitant to part with their hard-earned cash.

In their present form, smartwatches are still unpolished, unproven and ultimately unnecessary. Toss in the fact that most devices are poorly marketed and it becomes pretty clear why they’re not flying off the shelves. And until hardware smartwatch producers can come up with a clear-cut reason why these devices are actually needed, 1 million units sold every two years might be a slow death knell ringing loud and clearly.

What do you think, consider smartwatches a useful luxury at this point, or a niche item not worthy of your hard-earned dollars? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • namesib

    I have no need for a small-screened ‘smart’ device that is only slightly more accessible than my phone with considerably less functionality. Having to remember to charge a watch is also not very appealing.

    • Marc Perrusquia

      Don’t knock it till you try it.

      • Greg Cardall

        Agreed. I was on the fence for a long time, largely due to the cost. But after owning one for a while (Galaxy Gear 2/Tizen), it’s really starting to grow on me. In my personal opinion, in this age it makes far more sense to invest in a smart-watch that ties to your phone rather than shell our any money for a “regular” watch.

        • ed

          That’s not saying much. Most people don’t even have a regular watch. They have a phone to tell time with. That said, if I were to buy a watch, it would be a regular watch that costs less than 50 and has a battery that lasts for years and is probably waterproof. I would not spend 200 on a watch that will probably completely stop working after 2 or 3 years.

          • Marty

            Like Marc said, “Don’t knock till you try it.”

  • Badelhas

    I think it’s pretty cool but I have difficulty justifying the cost, at least at the moment. I’m gonna wait until it’s cheaper and has more functionalities

  • JSo

    I think smart watches are cool, but not really necessary. And I think that’s a lot of people’s opinion on them which means people don’t buy them. Maybe when smart watches do more, people will want them more.

  • Thijs

    I think I’ll get one soon if there will be a watch that looks nice ( moto360 without that black border at the bottom ) and have more battery capacity. I really like the way Android Wear looks. So I’ll just wait a year or so..

  • Jose Romero

    It’s mostly about marketing and how the product is presented to the masses.

  • MasterMuffin

    I remember when all the smartwatches were coming out and people were defending them. Useless products *laughing intensifies*

    • Marty

      I don’t think they’re useless. If you take the stance that they are primarily a time and date keeper, then all the other stuff is icing on the cake. Especially if you get one that looks good. Aesthetics and time/date keeping. That’s their main role.

      • ed

        But you already have a date and time keeper. It’s called a phone.

        • Marty

          I suppose, with the right case, a person could wear their phone on their wrist. :p

          • ed

            Why would one want to do that? It fits in my pocket just fine. Does something need to be on your wrist for you to check the time or date with it?

          • Marty

            For me, yes. I find it super convenient to flick my wrist around to see the pertinent info – including current weather temp – without having to pull my phone out, open the flap or power on the display.

      • MasterMuffin

        What Ed said + the icing is taking away the watch’ primary purpose by eating its battery at a rapid speed. It’s (and probably will be for a long time) a useless product category

        • Marty

          I don’t find the BL all that bad. My Sony SW2 lasts for days, though. My Gear Live will last one day and my Moto360, after it’s latest update, seems to be faring about the same as the Live.

          • MasterMuffin

            Some background: I’ve never used a watch and don’t see any reasons to have one. So convincing me won’t work :P

          • Marty

            Apologies. I wasn’t trying to convince you of anything, just having a conversation. Nevertheless, if you felt I was trying to convince you of a smartwatch’s usefulness, you equally could be said of trying to convince me or others of their uselessness. ;)

          • MasterMuffin

            No need to apologize and that’s exactly what I’m doing! I need sleep to be able to continue my preaching on smartwatch uselessness, good night/whatever the time is where you live! :D

  • desucca

    You don’t even mention having to charge another device every good damned night.. No thanks

  • InternetTroll

    I have no need for a nerd bracelet.

  • Hannes van Heerden

    I use a Sony SW 2 and love it! I work in environment where I’m not allowed to take out my phone in public (hotel) so it is perfect for me…

    • Marty

      I have an SW2 also. I find it more convenient and useful than my Android Wear watch.

  • hzd

    Its simply because they are a gimmick, I paid £120 for my LG G Watch on release.

    I have worn it every day and I can count on one hand howmany times I’ve placed a call with it.

    Its only marginly useful if :
    1. Your in a car and have no dock & or BT head unit
    2. You physically can’t get your phone out your pocket.

    That’s it !

    Turn by turn navigation – Useless, if you use google maps you’ve likely got a car dock or a passenger to help.

    Weather – Mostly useless because unless you faf about with an fully fledged weather based watch face its faster to get the phone out and use google now or a widget you likely have.

    Telling the time – hit and miss, the default watchfaces are pretty well SH!t to put it frankly and most of these watches have terrible screens in direct sunlight – ergo get phone out to check.

    Looking like a dick – you look like a freak telling your watch to make a call you can’t make correctly until you get your phone out.

    SMS – the only good feature send a quick SMS that’s if your not in a noisey place or in public, In a car is a good situation but then you can just place a call via your BT head unit / okay google e.c.t

    Then every night you have to charge the darn thing even when the brightness is set so low you can’t really read the time in daylight. . . .

    Its an expensive gimmick if a device is over £100 and I’ll never buy one again.

    Okay google voice command overrides any plausible use of android wear.

  • DDT

    Because Apple Watch didn’t launched yet. After then smartwatch market will boom.

    • thartist

      As stupid as it sounds, it might be true. Sales will go much higher for a while but in the end they’ll crawl back to a cave until smartwatches become a more serious device. Today they are still in diapers and are still very niche.

    • The advantage Apple has over other brands, is media coverage. Even talk show hosts making fun of things like the Apple Watch, ensures the broader audience knows about it (and not just us nerds). I’m from the Netherlands and even Apple’s event was on the news, telling about the iP 6 and Watch. You don’t see that kind of coverage on Samsung, Motorola or even Google.

    • That’s my hope too. Google is just not that great at advertising. The aWatch has not even come out yet, but everybody is already asking me if that is on my wrist (my choice of watchface doesn’t actually help the brand distinction either :-)))

      ►I think the Moto 360 looks good enough for both formal and casual wear.
      ►Voice commands will grow on you. Now I couldn’t live without being able to ask for a quick calculation or a fact, a definition of a word, a portrait image of a less known person, or to set a reminder on the go. And contrary to popular opinion, these can perfectly be carried on the street too → it’s the most private, hold your hand to your mouth: no need to shout
      ►If I have headphones on, this is the most convenient way to change tracks or even switch between my music and podcast apps
      ►Have you ever tried walking directions using your phone? It will never work. Holding your phone like a dowsing stick makes you really look like a dork. Navigation just works with the watch. It buzzes on your wrist when you have to turn, a quick glance tells you which way.
      ►I use it as a keyhole finder in the dark
      ►Look up calendar during a conversation
      ►Check my schedule
      ►and yes look at the notifications without pulling out my phone

      Now only the most tech savvy of us know about these, but Hype Factory apple will take care of spreading the news…
      …and selling their inferior product at double the price you thought was already too high

  • Riki Sutton

    I own an Android Wear smartwatch and I have found it very useful in some situations:

    · In my current job I’m not allowed to use my phone while working. With a smartwatch, I can be assured that I don’t miss any important notifications
    · When I’m working out at the gym, I don’t have to stop my workout to fumble with my large screen phone to change the music track, volume, or to set a timer
    · I can still use some of the features of my phone while it is charging in another room

    They might not be for everyone, but they are more than just an expensive watch

    • fliptrik

      Being able to receive notifications while the device is charging is a big one for me personally. I’m a pretty heavy user so when I get a chance to charge, I usually do. I love being able to walk around the house and office, to an extent, and still get my notifications without having my phone ringer go off all the time.

  • Marty

    “…a few reasons why smartwatches haven’t caught on”

    Mainly because Apple hasn’t yet launched a smartwatch for them all to follow. Once Apple does launch their coming smartwatch, all the others will take note of how Apple does it and adjust their systems accordingly. Then, just like Android prospered after the iPhone success, the other smartwatch systems will take off and prosper.

    • ed

      We have seen what the Apple smartwatch does. And it does not impress. It is equally as useless as Android Wear watches.

      • Marty

        Useless or not, once Apple does it, the others follow and prosper. ;)

      • loogle

        Useless? Maybe. Totally bitch’n…definitely! Between the pressure sensitive screen, the multi function crown, multiple tactile alerts, and those gorgeous straps! I can’t wait to play with one. I’d say if your not impressed your probably not into tech gadgets or deaf, dumb and blind(android user)

        • ed

          I am not into the apple watch. I am into general tech stuff and apple makes some good stuff. However the wearable market as a whole is a complete waste of time and money. Companies are just desperate to find the next thing that people will buy because the high end smartphone market is saturated. Wearables will not be the next big thing from the products I see right now.

  • ed

    Finally someone wrote this post. Most people think these devices are ridiculous. They do too little and cost too much. Oh, and the Apple Watch will change none of this.

    • Dr. Rock Strongo

      are you kidding? Local news stations will be reporting on how Apple invented the newest craze and iPeople will be lining up to mame “history” as the “first” adopters of smart watches since Dick Tracy

    • Hung Solo

      OK words marked. Just try not to drool when apple completely changes what “your” idea of a smart watch is. Tim cook has gone on record at least twice saying the apple watch will change the way people live. That’s a pretty bold statement to cling to if there’s not much merit behind it…not to mention this guy has his fingers on the pulse of the future of tech. Others might be first but they always end up following apples lead. My guess? We don’t even know what a smartwatch is cuz apple hasn’t released one. What you guys have now is a six graders best guess at an apple rumor…don’t worry papa tech will show the googles kids the answers they seek in due time…in the meantime do not buy android wear till AFTER april!!!!!

      • ed

        The apple watch has been announced. The specs are known. What it will and won’t do have been known for as long time. Tim Cook loves hyperbole. Apple always over promises.

  • Heimrik

    Actually, I think the Moto 360 meets the needs of your criteria. And its a watch. It’s not supposed to do much else. Its to display the time with style. It’s a fashion item. Like for example, a neck tie. Its common, can be casual or luxurious as does their respective costs, and yet it serves no real essential function. Its merely a decorative item. Nothing more. No need to continue to analyze the issue…

    • Marty

      Not actually correct. I connect my phone to my car stereo through its bluetooth adapter and am able to leave my phone alone and answer calls by tapping my watch display. Much more convenient and safe than fumbling with a phone.

    • Dr. Rock Strongo

      Thats a really expensive short lasting watch. In that case, this is a terrible purchase, buy a nicer watch.

  • DW Duck

    Funny, I can use a blue tooth on my gear s without my phone. I can do everything on my watch I can do on my phone without having my phone with me. Even forward calls from my phone to the watch. I think he needs to do more research

  • Android Developer

    Do the various android-smartwatches menufacturers have any special features that do not exist on the others?
    I don’t think they have the same freedom as on normal Android-devices, no?
    If they are very similar, there aren’t a lot of reasons to have a nexus watch yet, no?

  • I agree, who needs a smart watch if you are carrying a phone around everywhere? Just a gimmick but still some people will buy one just to show how up to date they are.

  • I own an LG G Watch R.

    1. It’s the best watch I’ve ever owned for telling the time. I can choose my own highly-readable watchface with 12-hour time, 24-hour time, UTC time and sunrise/sunset. Those features happen to be important to me, hard to find in any other watch in the price range. Others may have different needs and can simply download a watchface which suits them. Occasionally I go hiking and require detailed weather info, barometer and compass. Watch delivers. I’ve never hard a problem being able to see the watch face indoors or outdoors.

    2. I don’t care that the watch is an adjunct to my smart phone since I always have my phone with me. In fact I like that it integrates with my phone.

    3. Then in addition to being a great watch (on which I receive complements before people even realise it’s a smart watch–it is fairly stylish) there are all the smart features! A few killer features for me:

    – Reading and replying to SMS on the watch. It’s fantastic. It’s not about being lazy, but doing the job in the most efficient way. Pull phone out of pocket, unlock, pull down notification… or just glance at your watch. Friends have commented on how much more responsive I am to messages since getting the watch.

    – Watch vibrates if you walk away from your phone. This has saved me several times. This alone would just about make me buy the watch.

    – Camera for looking for looking behind hard-to-reach places with phone as remote camera. Works incredibly well; think plugging in cables behind your PC or doing tricky to access repairs on your car. Everyone who’s seen it is blown away by this functionality.

    – Weather info directly on watch face is very clear. I can see the forecast with a glance in the morning and current conditions during the day so I know whether to pull out the raincoat/umbrella. With a hiking watchface I have detailed current weather and forecast in 2-hourly intervals.

    This just scratches the surface of what Android Wear has to offer, and the best is yet to come. Considering traditional, quality watches run into hundreds or thousands of dollars, paying $300 (well under a high-end smart phone) for a good-looking, incredibly functional device is a no-brainer for me and I’ve never looked back.

    This article both hits and misses the mark. I suspect most people simply don’t know how great smart watches are. The first generation of blocky, awful looking watches with poor battery life and limited functionality probably didn’t help. Wear watch hardware has progressed to where it’s genuinely useful and (arguably) stylish. The next gen hardware can only be even better. Yet is still a new, immature market. I’m looking for a smartwatch explosion in a year or two once hardware and software catches up a little and the public catches on. I agree Apple’s marketing machine will bring the smartwatch into the public consciousness like nothing else, but the best, most versatile and stylish smart watches will continue to be Android Wear (or Pebble for those so inclined).

  • Nobody needs another device to carry, take care of and charge, especially when they’ve got a powerful computer in their pockets…

  • kiki

    send me one then lolll

  • Samsungo

    It’s simple I stopped wearing a watch years ago once I had a mobile why would I go back to a device which is less capable than the cheapest android phone after all clocks are everywhere nowadays I can’t see the point, also the battery life is a joke and I couldn’t give a monkey’s about not checking my pulse constantly not being a hypochondriac

  • apolloa

    Battery life, we now have watches that last for years on a single battery, let alone an automatic movement watch! Yet a smartwatch that copys your smartphone is sold to replace these watches and it lasts less then a day.

  • tiger

    Everyone waiting for Apple Watch….

  • nosmohtac

    Battery life is the biggest drawback IMHO! Until they make a smartwatch with solar or kinetic charging, I’ll stick with my pebble.

  • Mohamed Elkastawy


    • abazigal

      Haven’t you heard about the price levels that Apple intends to sell their watches at?

      • MattEgansHairLine

        People who buy android don’t know how to do research, or they wouldn’t buy a Samsung phone (which has been the majority of roiders) which is more expensive than an iPhone but comes with half the software support and 25% of Apples customer service (where do you take your Galaxy when they are shuttering all there store?).

        • abazigal

          To be honest, outside of the US (especially in Asian countries), it’s usually either the iPhone or a Samsung flagship. Other brands such as Sony and HTC just don’t get the same amount of promotion or branding.

          • MattEgansHairLine

            I saw 97% iphones when I was last in Vietnam ($4,200 is the average annual wage!), and the rest are saving for an iPhone.

            I’m Eurasian and I knew that most Asians avoid local brands to the point where wealthy Asians won’t buy Adidas made in Asia (and the reason why Adidas have factories in Europe and America for these rich few).

            This is what the roiders really don’t understand, Apple has been a bonfide luxury brand for decades.

            Samsung is a cheap knock off merchant who put up prices above Apples thinking that’s what a luxury brand is.

            If they were smart they would have bought a luxury brand and run it as an independent business.

            It’s like Android is there so you can aspire to own an iPhone.

            We live for in a capitalist consumer society, everyone wants the best, not the cheapest. Apples share price and last quarter figures set this in stone.

  • Wardroid

    i’ll probably buy a smart watch just for programming curiosity’s sake…. but its probably an Apple at first, i just cant afford to buy an android phone at the moment so i’ll make do with my older iphone for now. plus i havent heard back from a colleague who brought two android wear devices (from google I/O), the api must be boring and bad.

    • CSX321

      Wear devices are running a fairly complete version of Android. I was able to side load a game I wrote and get it running with few issues.

  • BigMeade

    Not worthy, to pricey, lack of style etc, etc….

  • Mista_Mr

    Pebble should get more credit for what it has accomplished. A small company with limited or no real marketing and yet they still sold million watches even with competition around. I have a pebble and it suits my needs. Smartwatches are still a niche product so they will still not appeal to everybody.

    • Guest

      I own a pebble as well and it is just how smart watches are supposed to be. A watch first, and something else second.

      • abazigal

        I dunno. The iPhone turned out to be a computer first and a phone second. But it was marketed as a phone because that was a paradigm consumers could identify with (everybody needed a phone, and if you were going to get one, why not spend more on one which let you do other stuff like listen to music and browse the web?).

  • Karly Johnston

    the biggest reason people don’t pop on it… a nice watch can last decades, smartwatch done in two years.

  • ichuck7

    I like my G Watch. It’s way more discreet than pulling out your phone. And it gives me my adhd fix, haha. But I bought it for $100. At that price, it was worth it for me. However, the listening doesn’t work all the time… Often enough that it’s frustrating. It works most of the time, but i long for the day when “It just works.”

  • ichuck7

    Also, I don’t think the smart watches not selling very well is problematic. Apple took forever to sell a million iPhones. But as more people saw their friends with one, they wanted one too. It will take a while.

  • Alex Ohannes

    What annoys me up is how everyone refers to smartwatches as if they are new. The Fossil Wrist PDA was released in 2003, and as of right now, still has more functionality (thanks to PalmOS) than any Android Wear smartwatch. Yes, it was ahead of its time and failed, but… IT EXISTED, therefore, making most claims about the “debut of the smartwatch” by tehcn blogs such as this one invalid.

  • Grundyman26

    samsung gear s is standalone

  • Mohamed Elkastawy

    Apple watch could be priced at $350, we know people are stupid enough to run for the apple brand. Android watches already have little attention, and the high prices of $230 and up will make it even worse.

    • MattEgansHairLine

      You, a no mark, or Carl Ichan, multi-billionaire who bases his investment on rational analysis?

      I think I’ll go with Ichan

      • Mohamed Elkastawy

        It’s a reality and we all see it. Apple does not have any major technology and people love it for its brand name. More than a billion iPhone 6 and 6 plus were sold and they have very general updates. Better camera, bigger screen and a faster chip.

        • MattEgansHairLine

          How’s that off-the-shelf 64-bit chip working in you S5?
          oh that’s right, two years too late.
          How’s Intel doing getting android 64-bit? Couldn’t Google do it?
          How about you fingerprint scanner that doesn’t work?
          Try again…

          My advice to you is do some real research, investors don’t put down money based on marketing bull, we invest in companies that have real market advantage

          • Mohamed Elkastawy

            How about not mention Samsung, can’t you see that every Samsung phone has the crappy touchwize? Samsung had the identities of Apple. Specially in other countries, a Samsung phone was a good phone at least. But you didn’t mention the great inventions that happened. Such as the LG G2, G3, Flex, Nexus 6, HTC One, M8, all of these phones are very fast and have very little lag even over time. If you argue about how all iPhones get the update all at once, going with products from companies other than Google is the choice you made. Nexus devices get the updates right away. These companies have made huge changes Android’s skin and performance in their products, don’t blame Google for it. Oh, and do many people need or think it’s a necessary to have a fingerprint scanner on the phone? Not many after it was built into the Samsung GS5.

          • MattEgansHairLine

            …some Nexus devices less than two years old.

            Google only offer software support for two years on certain models only.

            See, be honest about roid, you won’t lose 50m customers a quarter. But I guess if you didn’t lie, you’d be on your own.

    • abazigal

      I would argue that it’s this sort of mentality that will doom Android Wear.

      As the saying goes – you get what you pay for. When there is already a ceiling on how high OEMs can price a product, this means there is also a limit on what sort of features can be crammed into it, how refined the end user experience will be, as well as the amount that should be spent on R&D.

      For $99, you get a pebble watch, which is a decent product, but is already beginning to strike me as the “Blackberry” of smart watches, in that it has a cool concept, but is simply waiting to be obsoleted by a superior product.

      In this context, I can certainly understand why Apple refuses to associate their Apple Watch with Smartwatches. People are baulking at the idea of paying more than $200 for a smart watch, but don’t mind paying more than $10k on a high-end luxury watch (even if that watch doesn’t do more than tell time). It doesn’t take a genius to see where the money lies.

  • Humphrey Liu

    A reasonable well thought out article. Having the smartwatch add some functionality to add value makes sense and making voice calls would be something along this line. But the author did omit any reference to the sensors that a smartwatch could have which could be used for health or activity tracking. I’ve started using the Pebble’s ability to track activity and sleep via an “app” by Misfit and while it may be a bit simplistic, it does seem to add something to the smartwatch/smartphone experience.

  • Zenwatch owner

    To compare smartwatch sales to smartphone sales is ridiculous! Most people don’t even own a regular watch. Most everyone has a smartphone. Wearing a watch became a niche market the moment cellphones began telling time. Smartwatches are definitely a niche market and not everyone’s cup of tea.

    I also feel its ridiculous to expect a smartwatch to act as a smartphone. The screen is way to small not to mention looking like a dork talking and playing with your wrist every five minutes. Smartwatches are designed to do exactly what there doing, making it a little more convenient so your not pulling out your phone everytime a notification goes off (also dorkish imo).

    I have a Asus Zenwatch and not only do I find it stylish, I find it convenient that I can answer my phone paired to my bluetooth via smartwatch or if I’m in a conversation choose to ignore with a quick glance. As far as battery life, I don’t sleep with my watch and have no problem charging it everynight (although my Zen usually last two days) which I typically do with my smartphone anyway.

  • MattEgansHairLine

    This is where Apple gets it right, a watch is a piece of jewellery, not a tech product.

    Who is it that wants to talk about how cheap thier jewellery is? Hands up?

    Apple hiring the woman who made Burberry cool again was one of the three smartest moves by anyone in in the last five years. (The other was Carl Ichans investment followed by my much smaller investment.)

    Before you hate me, I have a Casio and a Omega to give away, which do you want? Thought so.

  • Heath Church

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my Pebble smartwatch, but the whole concept of connecting smartwatches to your phone using Bluetooth is less than ideal. My biggest grip about smartwatches is connectivity issues. Bluetooth is not a very stable method of connection and until developers can overcome this hurdle, I doubt the smartwatch revolution will really take off. In the meantime, I will continue to wear my Pebble smartwatch regardless of how bothersome as the bluetooth connection is. The idea behind the smartwatch is fascinating to me and represents an incredible way of delivering your data to you in style. Now it’s only a matter of time till we fix the marketing and connectivity issues that have plagued smartwatches since the beginning of time.

    • abazigal

      I find that the bluetooth connection between my pebble watch and my iPhone is generally quite stable. The only problem comes when my watch and phone are in different rooms, and the connection drops because they are too far apart.

      • Heath Church

        exactly. And then you have to open up the app and reconnect to the watch which I think should be an automatic feature. It gets old fast

        • abazigal

          Actually, my pebble watch does automatically reconnect to my iPhone once they are within range.

          Only problem is that when the bluetooth LE connection drops (infrequently, but you really feel it when that happens). And when I can’t figure out how to restore the connection, the only thing that can be done is to forget the connection and pair everything from scratch.

          The pebble watch also doesn’t strike me as being very durable. I bumped the side against a wall once, and now the middle button on the right isn’t working very well (I have to press it really hard to get it to register – guess a spring inside got spoilt or something). :/

  • steelew

    price and battery life. I have the G watch R and I’ll add one more, every one is looking to the high end but what about the timex’s and casio’s of the world. I wish my G watch R’s body was plastic instead of anodized aluminium, I scratched the body days after getting it. Just my thoughts. I also hate to say it but the apple flock hasn’t gotten their watch yet so as soon as they do, apple can say they revolutionized watches and then it will become popular.

  • Gregory Opera

    I had the first-generation Sony Ericsson “LiveView”, the Sony SmartWatch (1) and now the “Pebble”… Of these, my “Pebble” is the least “smart”, but I can get up to four days of HEAVY usage, and it costs a LOT less (around AU$100, at the time of writing).

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cheap – but if I’m going to spend AU$250-350+ on a “smart” watch again, I’d best be getting AT LEAST three days of HEAVY usage… Any less and I’ll stick to my not-really-smart “Pebble”.

    I want a Sony SmartWatch 3, I really do… But there is no way on Earth I am paying AU$350-400 (the price at the time of writing) for something that last just TWO days with “typical” usage!

    Sure, the SmartWatch 3 has some fancy features, but just like all of the other Android Wear manufacturers, Sony has their priorities mixed…

    A “smart” should ALWAYS be a watch first, “smart” watch second and one of the “key” features of a (traditional) watch is not having to charge it every second day!

  • On a Clear Day

    Perhaps the reason they are not selling is because they are silly, useless, pretentious affectations of dubious – perhaps no – actual value – a solution in search of a problem?

  • Adam S

    umm. too much to read in this article however what I read said “these devices aren’t really stand alone”. this is not true for the gear S. it has its own simcard with its own number ( if one wants) and can place calls and talk on it. It has just about every functionality of a cell phone ( I own this watch). and ive been told the voice quality on the watch has been better than the s4 itself!. im loving this watch . I was going to wait for the apple watch but since this came out the apple watch will now be behind in commonly used features.

  • Alexandr Slobodchikov

    Hello everybody!
    Let me introduce my brand new app for Android Wear – Watch phone.
    This is just another dialer but with perfect design recognized by many users.
    Proof on xda-developers:
    Link on Google Play:
    Thank you for attention!

  • Paul M

    I am usually a fairly early adopter of technology, for example I had PDAs before most people knew such things existed.

    I do want a smart watch but why haven’t I bought one?
    * too expensive with no upgrade path – when it’s obsolete in a year’s time you won’t be able to have the internal module replaced with a newer unit and keep the shell
    * apart from the Pebble, battery life too short
    * too big and chunky
    * not very many are particularly attractive, maybe just me but I think the iWatch is ugly

    Once I can get one with a battery life of at least a week that looks OK then I might buy if it either it’s under GB£100 (US$150 equivalent) or the watch module has to be upgradeable (even if it means sending to manufacture).

  • Brett Suderman

    Personally I think they’re great. I have a 1st gen Pebble and for me its especially useful when I’m at work (in construction, pebble is water and dustproof). Instead of pulling out my phone to see if its an important call or text from my boss I can just glance at my wrist and keep doing what I’m doing. Another invaluable feature is the ‘find my phone’ app. Of course it has to be within Bluetooth range, but I misplace my phone more often than I’d like to admit, and with the press of my watch it forces my phone to ring whether it’s on silent or not. That alone, to me, makes it completey worth while. Now if that feature was built into Android wear, advertised, and if more watches were round and had better batteries I really think it will take off. Plus it tells the time which I like. And it was only 100$. Give it time. Remember when everyone hated people who took selfies? Ya, now they’re making phones designed* for taking better selfies.

  • Kev Hulse

    my primary phone use is internet surfing so in my case a smartwatch would be pointless, If it was a stand alone device it would be just to small….