In June, NPD reported that less than 500,000 smartwatches have been sold since October 2013.They also reported that only 20% of consumers had any interest in smartwatches at all.
The Google Android Wear app (necessary for anyone with an AW smartwatch) is only showing 100,000 - 500,000 installs on the Play Store.
Today, I ran across this TechEye post featuring a report from Tata Communications saying that only 15% of the British are interested in wearables. The corresponding number for the US is only 12%!
Fitness band maker, Jawbone, just made it possible to use their app without having a band, prompting Adriana Lee of ReadWrite to comment:
With the new app, Jawbone’s step-tracking features work using the phone alone, no rubber shackle necessary. [Emphasis added.]Numerous publications enthusiastically covered the Jawbone announcement, especially the part about lack of "wristband" or "wearable". Google news currently has 75 stories about the release.
Here's a selection of headlines that give you the flavor:
Android Wear and Apple Watch smartwatches are not good bets at this point.
While Google Glass is achieving some specialized acceptance in places like surgery, it is largely regarded as either a joke or as offensive, with a surprising number of places outright banning the technology. I don't really find it offensive or funny myself, but I do think of it as both unnecessary and as under-powered/over-priced (even if it were $300) for the value it delivers.
I believe a big factor in adoption of wearables is battery life -- numerous others have commented on this. People don't want another electronic gadget that needs charging every day.
Another big factor is that people seem to want less notification, not more.
I wrote earlier about Android Wear reviewers universally condemning AW's notification model:
I'm potentially interested in Intel's new version of a fitness tracker:
The important points about my desire for the Intel devices is:
- It meets a real need.
- It makes that need more easily satisfied.
- The cost matches my perception of value.
In the end, I find it interesting that the most popular wearables out there are specialty devices. FitBit Flex, Jawbone and others easily outsell all smartwatches. I strongly suspect that the average person has no interest in a general platform on their watch (e.g. Android Wear, Apple Watch).
Looking at Google Glass, again what one sees is that it is only being used in places with a special need.
I think smartwatch and other wearables makers need to rethink their offerings from the ground up. Simple, inexpensive and filling real needs are what is going to win the day.