Here at TechDissected, we have a lot to say about smartwatches. Hell, we eagerly look forward to the next Android Wear device or wearable in general, just as much as you do, but while waiting for devices like the 360, we comb through the barrage of news and make observations about how this category of devices continues to develop and evolve.
Quite recently, on Wednesday the 27th of August to be exact, LG revealed its highly anticipated LG G Watch R to the world. Fine, it wasn’t a full revelation, but at least we got to see what it looks like; and to be honest, it genuinely looks good. For the sake of this piece, please bear in mind that it is their second Android Wear offering. A few minutes later, it was Samsung’s turn to announce yet another wearable of theirs, the Samsung Gear S. It was one of those nights where I thought the internet would explode because of all the news that was being spewed at me. I enjoyed every moment of it. I love those occasions.
As the dust settled however, something became very apparent; not everyone was happy. Why would everyone not be happy about the arrivals of shiny new pieces of tech? Well, maybe you don’t fancy the OEMs in question, or the platforms (Android Wear and Tizen) or maybe you just bought a smartwatch from one of the two companies and felt terribly butt-hurt about it. The last option was the biggest reason for outrage, and I had some time to sit and reflect on people’s rants, and to put some things into perspective. The following is what I came up with.
Google wanted some devices to show off at I/O, and I don’t know how much time LG was given to build their first watch. We really don’t have this information, but we know that the time was sufficient to at least introduce the G Watch. Could they have released the G Watch and announced the R or maybe release the R instead of the G? It’s really hard to call, especially considering the the G Watch R won’t be released until October.
Also, I have no qualms about companies releasing multiple watches. A watch is not a phone. People do own multiple watches which they wear interchangeably. I have four myself. What really hurts is when companies release a product, and then announce/release a superior one soon after. This is viewed by many as a cheap move and does nothing to boost the brand, but probably hurts it if anything.
Let’s look at what LG could have done better. After observing Motorola for the better part of a year, I’ve learned that it’s better to release the superior device first, and then the lesser offerings as Motorola did with their phones. No one was upset when the Moto G came out after the X, and again, when the E was announced. Everyone understood that they were lesser alternatives, and no one felt wronged by the company’s actions.
Samsung, is not as kind as LG. They have so far released the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, Gear Fit, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Live and the recently announced Gear S. Unless I missed one, that’s six watches that were recently released. Samsung clearly has an addiction for pumping out devices and has treated the wearable space in pretty much the same way that they have treated their phones; release devices at every price point and for every one at any time. It’s this attitude that has seen me stay away from Samsung products because, not only do I not fancy the design at times, but I never know when they will drop a follow up that’s better than the previous model.
I would personally love to see Samsung release fewer but better products. It’s hard to feel like much thought was put into a device when you were planning three others simultaneously. Samsung, make your users feel cherished rather than guinea pigs. Let us know that when we buy your smartwatch, we’ll be wearing the best that you have to offer for the next year and not just your Q1 offering. Trust me, it will go a long way towards gaining our trust.
There’s a reason why Google’s phones have amassed Apple-like followings among geeks. Nexus and Apple devices come once a year. There will be no upgraded version a few months down the road. Nexus devices receive support for about 18 to 24 months while Apple products may receive support for even longer periods of time. Customers blindly buy devices when they know that they will have no subsequent or superior offering from the same OEM within a year. They also have no problem spending their money when they know that devices will continue to receive support. In the case of Android Wear, Google takes care of the software, so the second concern should be a non-issue.
With Motorola, Asus and possibly HTC set to drop Android Wear pieces of their own this week at IFA, the already competitive world of smartwatches is set to become even more so. I hope to purchase one this year and it will most likely be the 360 because I just love how it looks, but, that said, I don’t expect the spate of Android Wear devices to slow down any time soon. Not long ago, Android flagships were released in like manner before OEMs decided to offer them once a year for the most part. Until the platform becomes mature, prepare yourself for new devices every few months from some OEMs; I just hope that maturity comes sooner rather than later.