Watches, Wrists, and Wearables

I’ve written a fair bit about this topic over the past few years. I’ve been a skeptic that watches are the next big thing in mobile devices. But I also believe that wearables will be important in our ongoing effort to integrate computation and data into our every day life.

The smartwatch sector has been around for a number of years now and Apple took a big shot at it with the launch of the Apple Watch a year ago in April 2015. It hasn’t gone that well for Apple and it begs the question of that means for watches and wearables.

Here’s a google trends query I ran this morning to get some sense of what is going on in this market.

The Apple Watch was supposed to crush its competition and yet that has not happened. Fitbit is stronger than ever and is currently generating more search interest (only one measure and maybe not the best one) than the Apple Watch. A new version of the Apple Watch is coming out soon and maybe that will be a game changer. I am skeptical.

I think wearables are more of a fashion item than computers and smartphones. It is also not clear that the network effects of operating systems and application platforms that have made computers and smartphones a duopoly are as prevalent in wearables. It is very likely that wearables are an accessory to a smartphone more than an application platform in and of itself.

I think wearables will be a big category but there won’t be one iconic device that dominates like iPhone dominates smartphones in the US. Some of us will wear an Apple Watch, some will wear a Fitbit, some will wear a Here in our ear, some will wear a Dash in our ear.

I am wondering when we will see the smart nose ring come to market.