Anyone taking the time to review the keynote presentation for Google’s recent I/O Developer conference, 2014, will note a segment devoted to the Android “wearables” product line. As David Singleton, Director of Engineering for Android, makes clear at the start of the “Wearables” segment, the apparent market niche, at least for the watch product in this segment, will be to “act as your key in this multi screen world”.
But what segment of the consumer market for these devices can be safely assumed to have a burning need for the smart watch? If consumers have likely spent (in one way or another, whether under the terms of a long term contract with a mobile data provider, or via an outright purchase) hundreds of dollars on an Android Smartphone, what portion of them are likely to spend some more for the smart watch? Just who needs an “always-on” connection to the Internet for messages? Or just who needs a very stylish smart watch?
Perhaps one can argue first responders may have a need for an “always-on” connection. Policemen, Firemen, Medical Personnel, and their peers. One can also assume stock traders, who have a big need for multiple alerts, will want a key like the smart watch demonstrated during the Keynote. But is this a mass market product? Further, if it isn’t one today, what’s the likelihood of a “killer” feature emerging in the near future to drive “must have” consumer interest.
Unfortunately, the features demonstrated during the Keynote for the smart watch, in the opinion of this writer, were not compelling enough to provide the driver for a pervasive interest in this type of product by the consumer mass market for tech gadgets.
There is also the potential for device overlap, especially for Google Glass, based on the features presented for this device. After all, the application of the glasses is to provide the consumer with the same “always-on” capability for messaging, is it not?
In fact, again in the opinion of this writer, the mass market, which, admittedly, is buying up a lot of mobile hardware powered by the Android O/S, is unlikely to be buying any of these devices to attain an “always on” condition for messaging. The “always on” feature is likely to be no more than a peripheral driver of consumer interest.
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