Where is the future of wearables and smartwatches? 

 

This week we’ve been able to see a lot of new products and projects at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. The smartphone is showing its age and the evolution of the latest high-end devices has not been demonstrated on the devices themselves, but on the accesories we can use with them.

Virtual Reality has been the star of the show, but these accesories must prove that they really can work out for users. Last year smartwatches and wearables were clearly getting a lot of headlines, but not this year: this year the MWC hasn’t payed attention to them.

The latest numbers from IDC show how the market for this devices has grown: every company involved has shown double digit growths -Xiaomi multiplied its unit shipments by 12x- and Apple has become the greatest smartwatch vendor out there currently. There’s another confirmation in these numbers: the smartwatch isn’t killing the activity trackers. Far from it.

So if the growth has been so nice, what has happened at the MWC? Why not showing them some love? The reason is clear: there’s currently little room for innovation in current models, but that could change in the next coming months.

First, with the launch of new versions of watchOS and Android Wear before summer. And second, with the arrival of the eSIM, the technology that will transform the smartwatch into an autonomous, independent device that no longer has to rely on the smartphone.

We’re getting there, and I suspect MWC17 will give us a lot of reasons to talk about smartwatches again.

The smarwatch declaration of independence

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I’ve been writing about smartwatches since Pebble surprised us with a device that hinted at a revolution. As of now, smartwatches are the revolution that never was, but maybe they were just too early to the party. Maybe they’re waiting their moment.

Walt Mossberg talks about his experience with the Apple Watch on his last column at The Verge, and there are some interesting thoughts there. The first one: he wouln’t miss the device that much in case he lost it. The second: smartwatches aren’t smart enough. The third:

I don’t think the smartwatch needs one “killer app”, but I do believe it needs a capability more compelling than what’s out there so far. It needs to do something, all on its own, that’s useful, quick, secure and cool.

What I do think smartwatches need to do is to be able to work all by themselves. They need a declaration of independence from our smartphones.

This will be the killer app they need.

 

Samsung Gear S2 gets it right

Vlad Savov is really pleased with what he’s seen about the new Samsung Gear S2. There’s probably a really important thing in the experience that that smartwatch and the platform it runs, Tizen, offers:

I want a watch that can do smart things, not a computer that can do watch things.

The rotating bezel, by the way, is the most convenient, consistent and functionally efficient mechanism I’ve ever seen on a smartwatch. And when you eliminate the need for a Samsung phone (any Android 4.4 device with at least 1.5 GB of RAM will work), then you’ve got a solid, compelling rival to any other product in the market.

Did I mention that Samsung has even managed to get an eSIM (embedded SIM) on some of the Gear S2 variants too?

This is the star of IFA 2015 hands down.

Source: Samsung’s Gear S2 can make me a believer in smartwatches | The Verge