Wearable Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Google looks to health unity

Google has created a new app aimed at combining all of your health and fitness data into one place. Called Health Connect, the new app – developed in collaboration with Samsung – allows users to share health and fitness data across Android devices. This means that apps supporting the new platform can share data, so if you use multiple fitness devices, all of the data is available to all of the underlying apps. The company gives the example of how an Android user will be able to sync their Peloton workouts, for example, into apps such as Oura, MyFitnessPal and so on. This is key as it allows fitness customers to use the right app for the specific task (i.e., Peloton) and still combine all of the data into all of the other apps un use (i.e., Oura).

The NPD Take:

  • This new platform will help encourage customers to make use of different wearables for different (relevant) tasks by making all the data interoperable and shareable. For relatively niche products, such as Oura rings, this will overcome a major stumbling block of not being able to see the complete health and fitness story in one place.
  • It also means a more accurate perspective on your fitness and health by leveraging the right app for the right fitness task as no one wearable (or app) is truly the right fit for all possible tasks.
  • Of course, the real challenge remains the “so what?” of how the data is all interpreted to tell a complete story and provide advice to the wearer.

Huawei’s Vision Glass

Huawei has unveiled a set of “smart” glasses that act as an additional display for computers, smartphones or other devices with a video-out. The glasses themselves have no true “smarts” but are equipped with two FHD, MicroOLED displays with a resolution of 1920x1080. While not exactly smart, nor augmented reality glasses, the Vision Glass glasses will still appeal to some consumers, and – more importantly – could help drive the smartphone to be a more central computing device.

The NPD Take:

  • There is a niche – that we expect to grow – for glasses that act simply as a display for other products, such as laptops and smartphones. Image, if you will, being able to watch a movie on a plane wearing these glasses, powered by your smartphone. Or, consider the possibility of a much larger display for you laptop (possibly the equivalent of two standard screens) for productivity.
  • While certainly a niche, these glasses could help to boost productivity use of smartphones, which already have the processing power to do may of the things we use a laptop for, but that currently have the major limitation of small screens. This is one of the reasons we see manufacturers focusing on folding displays, but the glasses possibly help augment a small smartphone without adding bulk and complexity of a folding display.
  • Game changing innovation? Not really, and Huawei is not the first to enter this market. But it has potential and is an areas to keep an eye on. Of course, since this is Huawei we are talking about, there’s a high probability that the glasses will not make it into the US market.

Black Friday deals galore

The smartwatch is set to be one of the big deals of Black Friday. Google (and Fitbit), Samsung, Garmin and Apple all have significant Black Friday deals, such as a reported $200 knocked off Apple’s Watch Series 6 at BestBuy, up to a third knocked off various Fitbit devices and about the same discounts for Samsung and Garmin devices. These are some of the most aggressive deals we’ve seen to date and should help entice more consumers to try out a smartwatch – or upgrade their current device.

The NPD Take:

  • The deals are aggressive. With smartwatch ownership creeping close to 40 percent of the US adult population, it is harder to entice new customers to engage with a smartwatch and the OEMs are clearly hoping that these deals will encourage more adoption (or provide the perfect gift for the upcoming holidays).
  • Gifting an unsolicited smartwatch or tracker is a risky business with higher abandonment rates (see the latest blog “The art of gifting” coming out later this week).
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