Since movies and tv shows started creating wearable tech years ago, people became interested and wanted to own one. The only drawback was that the technology was not there at the time. Today, technology has advanced so much that what was once thought of as a dream, is now a reality and anyone can go into a store and purchase a smartwatch. As great as these items are though, they are certainly not without their flaws. Here, I’ll explain why I think the wearable tech industry still has problems that will prevent it from growing.
For the most part, many of the smartwatches are simply too expensive. Although cheaper ones from makers such as ASUS have price points at about $100, it still makes it hard for customers to justify why they should be paying that premium, especially because the cheaper ones are generally running on Android Wear and have it’s limitations. From there, the only other decent option is the Apple Watch which starts at $300. And at that price point, customers are thinking about getting a tablet instead. So as you can see, the price is extremely important. It’s the first thing customers will see. It has to be a reasonable.
I think the idea of having a watch that can display notifications is great. It allows us to simply look at our wrist instead of taking out our phone every time. The convenience is certainly there. However, I feel like the majority still struggle with offering a solid experience that does more than just display notifications, but do it smoothly and offer watch specific apps that actually work well. Right now, smartwatches are not offering enough to consumers. Why pay a few hundred dollars for a device that displays notifications, but also lags and struggles to give the user a great experience? Along with the price, the functionality has to be there and right now, I find too many smartwatch makers pushing out half-baked products into the market just to stay competitive.
Arguably one of the biggest problems is the battery. In such a connected world, we always need juice to power our phones and tablets. Watches on the other hand are things we normally don’t have to worry about because they consume such low power and therefore last months before needing a new battery. With smartwatches though, there’s a lot more under the hood that need the extra juice to work. For example, it has to power the processors and light up the display. These have a significant effect on the overall battery life and shorten their lives from what could be months to a few days. Customers already have to charge their phones and tablets almost every day and they certainly would not like to consistently charge another device. If a watch were to suddenly die on any given day, then all of a sudden it’s completely useless. And if you turn off the notifications to improve battery life then you are defeating the purpose of having a smartwatch in the first place. So basically, companies need to find a way to improve battery life to at least a week. They shouldn’t simply advertise it saying it will last a week, but actually put it to the test and prove that it will last long.
I honestly love smartwatches. They’re really cool. They’re something I never thought would actually happen. I just don’t have a need to buy one. My phone does enough and although the convenience factor of having notifications on your wrist is a nice touch, the price, functionality and battery life do not convince me to buy one. If companies can find a better way to maximize performance and minimize the amount of battery it uses, then maybe I will consider it, but until then I think the industry has a long way to go before owning a smartwatch becomes mainstream.