The Next Big Thing
Where's the smartwatch headed next?Brian Cooley takes a look at the current state of the smartwatch market and what trends could fuel consumer adoption.
Smart watches. Does the industry really know what time it is? I'm Brian Cooley from CNet, always in search of the next big thing. To many market watchers, the smart watch sector is still running about five minutes slow, if you know what I mean. We've had four major tech events, CES Mobile world congress, an Apple event and Facebook F8. And none of them moved the ball forward for the smart watch. Apple introduced some new watch bands. Fitbit brought out basically a Fitbit with some very basic notifications. And [UNKNOWN] offer a quarter of their staff. The most encouraging headline for the smart watch market so far has been the smart watches now have just [UNKNOWN] the sale of swiss made watches by about a million units. That's a little bit like saying though that you sell more cars then [UNKNOWN]. Swiss watches are a tiny sliver of the 1.2 billion. Unit overall watch market which smart watches have, what, maybe 4% of now. Still many analysts guessed that the smart watch market will move from 30 million units sold in 2015 to about 50 million sold in 2016, not quite the magic doubling figure that many look for to see a red hot market, but substantial. It could be early days for the smart watch, in it's trio phase, if you will, before the iPhone arrived to really through gas on the fire, or we could be at the beginning of an early sunset, to be honest. Among the trends to look for are perhaps the idea of a slightly simpler mission for the smart watch that is then going to continue to focus on being a high fashion timepiece. That's a way to speak to a very large market that is already in place. Also, the cost of admission to be in the smartphone market now clearly includes elaborate health, fitness and wellness sensors on its underside. **** Tracy might be disappointed by all this, but sometimes, a little less, a little leaner tech, is the path to market adoption. I'm Bryan Colley NoWhat'sNext. CNET.com/NextBigThing.