The past weekend was Europe’s transition to daylight savings time. The past three weeks is what I term the ‘funny spring times’ when North America and Europe’s timezone differences are ‘off’ because of the differences between when each continent enters DST. Trans-Atlantic conference calls are out of kilter based on which timezone the call was scheduled from.
It’s also a good time to take stock of the IOT or wearable scene. There’s been sufficient time for everyone to take stock of the Apple Watch announcement. But there’s been a lot over the last couple of years so let’s do a run-down of the state of the nascent smartwatch market.
|Pebble, Fitbit, Jawbone, etc||Pebble, Fitbit, Jawbone (and many others) have been putting out wearables of various ilk in the past two years. These have had limited success due to design, features, and distribution. The key breakthrough in 2014 was the realization that design matters.|
|Android Wear||Android Wear was announced at Google IO 2014 together with the trio of Motorola, LG and Samsung. It’s just about a year since the announcement and while the volume is there, the broader market has largely shrugged it off.|
|FulPower/MotionX||MMT was announced in February 2015 by FullPower along with a handful of watch companies. FullPower is better known as the owner of MotionX which is licensed to many including Jawbone who use it in their line of wearables (the various UP*). The three launch partners for MMT (Mondaine, Alpina & Frederique Constant) and, more importantly, the watches that they announced are notable because, coming from watch companies, are bonafide watches that looks and feel like traditional watches. (Should I call them ‘feature watches’ in the style of the phone market?)|
|TAG-Heuer /Google/Intel||I feel that this is probably the most important announcement alongside Apple’s. TAG Heuer has a significantly larger brand, presence and distribution network compared to FullPower’s three partners. Christmas 2015 should be interesting.|
|Montblanc||MontBlanc took an unexpected approach by tackling not the watch head but the strap. A smart-strap solves the problem of consumer electronic’s rapid obsolescence by riding alongside a watch as opposed to displacing it.|
|Apple||I don’t have more to add beyond the load that you can find online. I will point out that Apple did their homework by aiming for the sweet spot of the watch market. Take a look at the Swiss and Japanese industry reports and you’ll see that the USD375 price point is right in the middle of where the volume is.|
2015 has just starting and the Apple Watch is yet to ship. It’ll be fun to see how this year unfolds.