Watchmaker Timex’s release of its first smartwatch could have a tough time competing in this quickly growing market as it lacks a strong battery life, appeal of design and an attractive price.
The Ironman One GPS+ watch may not require to be paired with a smartphone, but its 3G capabilities will likely drain the battery in no time and the watch itself ultimately lacks any revolutionary functionalities. Experts refuse to discuss wearables without the mentioning of Apple and the rumored release of its own smartwatch, which is expected to knock out any form of attempted competition.
“Timex has no way of competing against a company like Apple in the wearable scene simply because of branding even though they are established as a watchmaker,” said Julien Blin, managing director of Gizworld, San Francisco. “These products must be elegant, affordable and combat the ongoing issue of battery life.
“Consumers expect more.”
Mr. Blin is not affiliated with Timex but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
The expected battery life of Timex’s watch is 8 hours when the GPS is activated and three days when it is not, which lacks promise given the battery life of an average smartphone. Consumers are not going to appreciate charging their smartwatch as often or more than their smartphone.
“It’s too early for 3G smartwatches because the battery life issue will turn off consumers,” Mr. Blin said.
However, the watch does provide a handful of useful features, such as the obvious sharing of data following users’ workouts on social channels with one tap and also assigning contacts to monitor consumers’ workouts in real time.
Furthermore, a built-in messaging app allows contact via a specially assigned email address and an emergency option to notify friends and family of users’ exact location. The watch can hold four gigabytes of music but can only be listened to using wireless headphones that connect via Bluetooth.
Yet again, Apple
Rumors speculating the cost of the destined iWatch by Apple stand around $350, and some experts deem this to be reasonable.
The iWatch will set the bar in design and functionality,” Mr. Blin said. “Consumers won’t mind spending more for it simply because it’s an Apple product.”
Experts also assume a product executed by Apple will combat the issues of frustration among wearables that are available now.
“People expect more from a wearable than just counting steps,” Mr. Blin said. “Consumers are not going to buy a smartwatch in addition to an activity tracker.
“The one device should provide more information like fatigue if the user is not getting enough sleep, and it should also aim to prevent injuries if a user’s heart rate is too high or if they are burning too many calories. I’m sure that Apple will figure this out and the iWatch will be able to do all these things.”
The recent past has shown an absolute need for some type of beauty among wearable products.
As wearables gain momentum, developers are recognizing the need for fashionable appeal, leading to partnerships between technology companies and fashion brands.
A less appealing tech wearable suddenly becomes desirable after a well-known designer lends a magical touch. While some consumers are more focused on the technology, appearance means more to average consumers, and they will not adopt a wearable if it could wreck their style (see story).
Fashion label Tory Burch designed a collection of signature fitness products for fitness tracking device company FitBit to give the products a fashionable edge.
As a way to disguise a less fashionable wearable, the Tory Burch collaboration is likely an attempt to attract fashionistas and involve the brand in the wearable trend. While the jewelry products could make the fitness wearables more fashionable, the tech devices are not built in and must be purchased separately from FitBit (see story).
“Wearables need to be appealing and this watch is not elegant,” Mr. Blin said.
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York
Caitlyn Bohannon is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.