Time starts to move in wearable technology

February 25, 2014

Samsung wearable tech

Wearable technology has been coming for quite a while now. The launch of the Samsung Gear in September 2013 marked the dawn of a new era. Samsung were the first to market at the expense of having a super slick ready to wow product. However being the first to market has allowed them to learn quickly what works and where they can improve. Ryan Bidan the head of Samsung Product Marketing has been quoted as saying they have learned 3 main lessons from the Galaxy Gear 1.

  1. People want more from the gear itself. They don’t just want notifications. More recent software updates has allowed this happen for email. Rather than just say you have an email, users can now see the sender and initial paragraph of the email without having to reach for their phone.
  2. Samsung has found users are keen to use voice recognition software rather than the touchscreen.
  3. Aesthetically, consumers like the option to have replacement wristbands. With the Galaxy Gear 1 consumers were in essence stuck with the original wristband they chose. Future versions I think may offer replaceable wristbands for consumers to customise their smart technology.

A synopsis from CES.net on wearable technoilogy in 2013 is that “there is lots of interest, a lot of caution and not much worth buying…yet.”

So just this week at the Mobile World Congress Samsung announced the launches of its Samsung Galaxy S5, Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo (the gear has lost “galaxy” in it’s name). In terms of wearable technology the Gear 2 is to some extent what was expected. New replaceable wristbands and  longer battery life answer some of the main complaints people had with the Gear 1. The Gear 2 Neo is much the same as the the Gear 2 but without the 2 megapixel camera which is now mounted in the watch face rather than the wristband. A new feature I am personally excited about is the infra-red blaster. This allows users to manage their TV from the Gear 2. It brings people back to the nostalgic beginning of digital watches and the fun consumers had changing the station from their watch.

The big news is that the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are no longer running on Android. They are built to run on Samsungs Tizen operating system. This is presumably why the “Galaxy” was dropped from the name. Samsung are claiming that the Gear 2 running on Tizen will allow the watch to connect to a wider variety of devices. It does for certain spice up the operating system battle and will give Google Android something to think about going forward within the waerable market.

The imminent launch of Apples iWatch in 2014 is written all over this launch. The Samsung Gear 2 now has an optical sensor which can track your heart rate, multiple exercise modes and various app’s to enhance the health conscious users experience. Whether Apple release a fitness band or smart watch, Samsung have certainly tried to position themselves ahead of the trend.

It looks like exciting times on the horizon as the smart watch and wearable technology race eventually begins to heat up. Next is how as marketers can we reach these consumers on their newest user interface.

Donnacha Kinsella

Account Executive OMD

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