Wearable Device Ecosystem

Wearable Device Ecosystems provides a deep dive into the fast-developing market where there is no dominant paradigm in terms of form factor, ecosystem, enabling technologies or use cases.

October 22, 2014 07:13 nmawston

According to our Wearables (WDE) research service, as smartwatch momentum continues to build, it does so around familiar names from the mobile industry, such as Apple, Samsung, and Sony. Surely, however, there is another side to the smartwatch story. At what point does it make sense, if at all, for traditional watchmakers such as Fossil, Swatch, and Timex to aggressively enter the smartwatch market? In our published report -- available to clients -- we look at smartwatch entry strategies for traditional watchmakers.


October 16, 2014 10:22 mwilkins

According to a new report from our WDE (Wearables) research service, traditional Watchmakers risk increasing competition to their business from Smartwatches if they do not react quickly.


The pace and tone of the smartwatch industry is today being dictated by mobile device vendors - such as Samsung and Sony – but traditional watchmakers have tremendous experience which they can use to influence the segment.

Our report – published for clients here – discusses entry strategies into the smartwatch market for the traditional watchmakers.


October 16, 2014 10:17 mwilkins

According to a new report from our WDE (Wearables) research service, video recording will become a key feature on smartglasses, as a result of factors unique to the device.


With HD video recording only going to increase in resolution over time, the activity will consume more local storage on the device. This will be music to the ears of memory suppliers such as Samsung, SanDisk, Toshiba, Micron, and others who provide the memory that forms the storage on smartglasses. Consumer attraction to recording video on the move is evident with the success of GoPro.

Our report – published for clients here – discusses our predictions for typical video recording behaviour on smartglasses.

 


October 10, 2014 08:43 nmawston

According to a new report from our WDE (Wearables) research service, global wearable device wholesale revenues will grow a huge 3200% from 2013 to 2020. Increasing device volumes will offset declining prices, as more vendors and models from China, India and elsewhere enter the market. The smartwatch and smartglasses categories will dominate total wearable device revenues for the next decade. Our report -- published for clients here -- forecasts global wearable device volumes, wholesale revenues and ASPs by type from 2013 to 2020.


October 1, 2014 06:18 mwilkins

Following on from its acquisition by Intel earlier in 2014, BASIS has launched the Peak fitness and sleep tracker. Peak will be available in November, in the selected markets of the US, Canada, and the UK, for a retail price of US$199/£199. 

The Peak is positioned as a premium fitness band with smartwatch features, such as text message and call notifications. The device is able to monitor the wearer’s heart rate without the need for a separate chest strap, and can automatically detect whether the wearer is walking, running, cycling, as well as sleep phases and sleep quality. Peak requires no interaction with a PC, as initial set-up and activity tracking stats and analysis can all be accessed through the companion smartphone app (for Android and iOS).

With a US retail price of $199 the Peak sits at the upper end of fitness band pricing, and is therefore more likely to appeal to the hard-core fitness enthusiast than the mainstream market.

Fitness Bands are a key category in the emerging wearable devices market, with leading brands including Fitbit, Jawbone, and Nike according to Strategy Analytics most recent Fitness Band vendor marketshare, as featured in the Wearable Device Ecosystems (WDE) service.

 


September 30, 2014 11:17 mwilkins

Following on from its acquisition by Intel earlier in 2014, BASIS has launched the Peak fitness and sleep tracker. Peak will be available in November, in the selected markets of the US, Canada, and the UK, for $199/£199. 

The Peak is positioned as a premium fitness band with smartwatch features, such as text message and call notifications. The device is able to monitor the wearer’s heart rate without the need for a separate chest strap, and can automatically detect whether the wearer is walking, running, cycling, as well as sleep phases and sleep quality. Peak requires no interaction with a PC, as initial set-up and activity tracking stats and analysis can be completed and accessed through the companion smartphone app (available for Android and iOS).

Fitness Bands are a key category in the emerging wearable devices market, with leading brands including Fitbit, Jawbone, and Nike according to Strategy Analytics most recent Fitness Band vendor marketshare, as featured in the Wearable Device Ecosystems (WDE) service.


September 9, 2014 14:09 nmawston

After months of speculation, Apple finally unveiled today its Apple Watch.

It is a stainless steel, aluminum or gold-plated device that enters a global smartwatch market currently growing at +750% annually, according to our WDE (Wearables) research service.

The Apple Watch Edition / Sport Edition is a premium-tier smartwatch that will be launched commercially worldwide in Q1 2015. The launch is after the western holiday gift-giving season in the US and somewhat disappointing. But it will meet the Chinese holiday season in Asia. Its retail ASP of US$349 or more is relatively expensive. 

The hardware design of the Watch is shaped like a mini iPhone that sits on your wrist. It is a micro-slate formfactor with a "crown" on the right-side for controlling the software and apps. The hardware styling looks attractive, but it is quite a male-centric design, and some female users may arguably think twice before purchasing.

The Watch comes in 2 sizes, 3 casing materials and 6 band-types (e.g. leather, metal, plastic), so visual personalization is clearly of importance. Battery charging is done via a wired connector, which is a little disappointing that it is not fully wireless.

The Watch apps are focused around fitness, health, sport and messaging. For example, there is a heart-pulse-rate monitor, which employs infrared, LEDs and photosensors. You can use the Friends app to send messages to your buddies. There is NFC included in the smartwatch, so Apple Pay will work with Apple Watch -- this is good news for the mobile proximity-payments ecosystem and will help to accelerate its usage through more devices.

Overall, there is little revolutionary in the Apple Watch. Most features and designs in it are already available in other smartwatches from Samsung and others. But what Apple has done is to package its various parts into a single package that many global consumers will find compelling. We expect Apple's Watch to instantly become the world's best-selling smartwatch.

PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new Apple Watch, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif.


September 5, 2014 13:54 mwilkins

For our third and final day at IFA, we were joined by a cast of thousands as IFA opened its doors to the general public, as the business of doing business begins for the exhibitors.

Intel held its press conference where it revealed the Core M processor, designed for 2-in-1, tablets, and detachables. Core M offers 3X the compute performance, and 2X the graphics performance of the leading tablets, according to Intel. The company also said it is the world’s first 14nm product. Systems using the chip will be available in October.

We also spent time playing with a forthcoming smartwatch from Alcatel, which we understand will be priced very aggressively around the 100 Euro mark. The round display device has a simplistic design, which also carries over into the simple design of the interface. The product is a companion device, in that it will use the mobile data connection of a smartphone for its needs. We expect to see the device launched in 2014.


September 4, 2014 14:40 mwilkins

Day two at IFA in Berlin was quiet on the wearable devices front, after the announcements we had yesterday from Asus (ZenWatch) and Sony (Smartwatch 3 and SmartBand Talk).The announcements today focused around tablets and smartphones.

In the morning Microsoft unleashed a number of smartphone announcements into what it describes as the "affordable category" of the market ($40 - $200). First up was the Lumia 830, the “affordable flagship” which will retail for 330 Euros (before taxes and subsidiaries). The 830 was followed by the Lumia 735 and Lumia 730, again playing into the affordable segment, with the 730 being a dual-SIM 3G model, and the 735 a single-SIM LTE device. The 735 and 730 will retail for 219 and 199 Euros respectively. At the announcement Microsoft also launched a number of new accessories including the Screen Share Accessory (79 Euros), which wirelessly connects to the smartphone and a TV via HDMI, allowing pictures and videos recorded on the Lumia device to be shown on a big screen. A wireless charger was also announced (the Wireless Charging Plate) which pulses light to communicate smartphone notifications to the user (when charging). Microsoft said all Lumia devices announced today will be available in selected markets by the end of September 2014.

At a busy press conference in the afternoon Lenovo announced the Vibe X2 and Vibe Z2, its second generation 5 series (top of the range) smartphones. It then directed its attention at PCs and 2-in-1s. The Horizon 2S was announced, a 19.5-inch, 2-in-1 table-top PC, capable of 2 modes of operation (upright in stand mode or lying flat). Then came the ThinkPad Helix 2-in-1, a sub-800g 2-in-1, equipped with an 11.6-inch display, and five modes of operation (laptop, stand, tent, tablet, docked).

Other announcements included the Ascend Mate 7 and G7 smartphones from Huawei, Toughpad FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 ruggedized tablets from Panasonic, and the Desire 820 smartphone from HTC.


September 3, 2014 12:39 mwilkins

The IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany, kicked off in style today (day 1), and wearables were right at the front. Analysts from our WDE (Wearables) research service are on the show floor.

Asus announced the ZenWatch, representing the entry of Asus into the wearable devices market. Running Google’s Android Wear OS, the ZenWatch smartwatch features a curved 2.5-inch display (which is way too big, in our view), 4GB of local storage, and the ability to use straps from regular wristwatches. The device includes a heart-rate monitor and other activity tracking features such as pedometer. The ZenWatch will be available in select markets worldwide for the western holiday season with mid-to-high-tier retail pricing in the region of US$250.

Sony announced the Smartwatch 3 and the SmartBand Talk. Smartwatch 3 represents the first Android Wear OS-based smartwatch from Sony, with the company having previously used its own operating system for Smartwatch 1 and 2. The SmartBand Talk is a fitness band which allows the wearer to receive telephone calls when connected to the companion smartphone. The devices will begin rolling out globally in the fall. Pricing was not yet disclosed, but we expect it to be positioned in the top half of the market.

At Samsung’s UnPacked Event, the company spent time discussing the recently announced Gear S, the first cellular-enabled smartwatch in the Gear range. Samsung then took the wraps off of the Gear VR, a virtual-reality headset that uses the Note 4 phablet (also announced today) as its display. Samsung was joined onstage by Oculus CTO, John Carmack, to discuss the challenges of VR headsets, such as battery consumption. The Gear VR will be available later in 2014. Pricing was again not disclosed, but we expect it to be among the higher price-tiers. Today's event confirmed Samsung continues to be among the innovation leaders in the wearables / accesories space.