Byline: Professor Foluso Ladeinde Foluso.firstname.lastname@example.org
Mar 16, 2015 (Daily Trust/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) — Got enough to eat, drink, with some leftover, and can be tagged a gadget aficionado? If this is you, you’ve probably heard, read, or watched last week’s (9 March 2015) launching of Apple smartwatch, with keenness of mind. With Apple’s recent historic revenue and profit landscape from iPhone 6S, it’s tempting to suggest that it’s gadget-wise perilous to ignore any developments from that company. It does seem that everything the company touches turns to gold. So, you might be expecting a “Midas Touch” on Apple’s wristwatch computer, aka, smartwatch.
Wait a minute: are smartwatches really that new to deserve the coverage they received last week, or are tech journalists merely speculating on Apple’s ware because the company is so cool and has been so successful? Or, are tech journalists losing their minds? Isn’t it the case that Samsung has previously released three kinds of smartwatch since 2013 and has actually been the leader for three years in a row? So, if these are facts – which they are, why should you care about Apple’s smartwatch? May be you shouldn’t, or maybe you should – as the truth shall set you free!
So, what is a smartwatch anyway? One suggested definition: a wrist-worn device with the indication of time and wireless access to the Internet. Pretty neat, right? Yep, you wear it on your wrist just as you wear any regular watch. It also tells time like any regular watch, but it connects you to the Internet, which a regular watch doesn’t do.
Getting more serious, what is out there by way of smartwatches? Well, more than meets the eye (or your wallet), for sure. We’ve got Samsung in the lead, with over 1.2 million smartwatches sold between October and December 2014, according to data from the Smartwatch Group. For the same time period, we’ve also got Pebble (700,000), Fitbit (600,000), SONY (550, 000), Lenovo (500,000), LG (420,000), Garmin – the navigation people (400,000), Withings (170,000), Polar (150,000), and Asus – the computer-manufacturing company (120,000). (The numbers in parenthesis indicate the units sold within the stated period.) Where is Apple in the list? Answer: Nowhere to be found, for last week’s offer by Apple was the company’s very first for this line of product! I bet you never heard of some of these companies before now. That’s what journalists do to you – clinging to the bandwagon at the expense of struggling entities. I guess everyone wants to be part of a good story.
Needless to say that the battle for your wrist is on, and I am pretty sure that Samsung is going to fight tooth-and-nail to maintain its turf in the smartwatch business, capitalizing on a plausible power of incumbency, coupled with the likelihood that Apple might not have gotten this gadget right – after all! It might as well be a fight worth fighting, since forecast (by Strategy Analytics) says that the global shipments of smartwatches would increase by over five hundred percent from approximately 4.6 million now to 28 million in a year. These figures have not considered new entrants into the field, which will certainly include the companies from China – Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, and others. (Lenovo is already in and doing okay.)
There are forecast that say Apple will overthrow Samsung, with a projected shipment of between 15 and 20 million. I’ll take those forecast with a grain of salt, and play the doubting Thomas here: I’ll believe it when I see it. Meaning that I don’t believe it will happen with the current deployment from Apple.
LG might as well be a sleeping giant in this technology. While Samsung’s deployments have mostly been based on the 3G wireless technology, LG showcased a smartwatch model, called Urbane that uses 4G, also referred to as long-term evolution, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona two weeks ago. Moreover, this watch boasts of a battery capacity that is twice that of Samsung’s Gear S model – the company’s current flagship. In fact, there were speculations that Samsung might have withheld its latest offering, dubbed Orbis, in Barcelona, because of inferiority complex created by the awesomeness of LG’s Urbane. Today, Samsung is the leader, with its 1.2 million-unit shipment accounting for approximately 23 percent of the total.
Does Apple have a chance? When it comes to small devices, I am actually a skeptic; even though I strongly believe in the power of possible thinking in general. Honestly, devices have to make sense. How much can you pack into a wrist watch? I am reminded of my Galaxy Note 4 phone, which is huge by smartphone standard. Yet the buttons on the keyboard, even though they are well-laid out for easy accessibility, are too closely-spaced that I often pick the wrong characters – and it is not that my fingers are that fat!
I have learned that some app developers have gotten busy developing stuff to work on Apple’s smartwatch. So far, the apps are employee-centric, including “Better Works,” which helps employees set and achieve goals, Invoice2go, which is a tracking device, and Synthesis, which has been developed by the U.S.-famous Mayo clinic as a scheduling tool for its doctors. Salesforce, the cloud-computing company, is also already developing apps: Salesforce 1 for Apple Watch, which is scheduled to be released next month, will display notification of approvals, goals reached, and long-wait times for customer calls. Salesforce Analytics Cloud for Apple Watch will let users view performance graphs and drill down into raw data. The app will respond to voice commands, courtesy of Siri, and let users switch between Watch and iPhone. Sounds impressive but I am not really sure of demand.
The bottom line The battle for the smartest computer you wear on your wrist is on, as Apple encroaches on Samsung’s turf.
Copyright Daily Trust. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).