Wearables Week In Review

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Week In Review

Facebook Watch Rumors

According to news reports (first started in The Verge), Facebook’s rumored smartwatch may have two (yes two) cameras. Interestingly, these cameras are supposed to be detachable from a stainless steel watch frame to provide more flexibility for picture taking (does anyone else remember the awkward attempts of first gen Samsung watch users to take wrist-based photos subtly?). Additionally, according to the report, Facebook’s plan is to tie the watch strategy in with an augmented reality one, and this one is more interesting to us: we expect the watch to be LTE-connected and that means that we could be seeing an early play to usurp the smartphone’s dominance. After all, with glasses and am LTE connection in the watch, how central will a phone be to us? The watch is expected to launch next summer so we should take this rumor with several grains of salt.

The NPD Take:

  • Facebook could really be playing a long game here, banking on augmented reality to drive a change in consumer behavior that leads to less reliance on the smartphone. The challenge with such a play will be the battery life of the smartwatch if it becomes the centralized modem for other devices.

Watch OS8

Last week was WWDC week: Apple’s annual event where it unveils all sorts of goodies for developers and consumers alike. This one unveiled a new Watch OS (8) that will include guided meditation and additional sleep tracking metrics such as heart rate and blood oxygen. Of course, we still have the question of quite when you charge your Watch if you use if for sleep tracking, given that charging is still a daily event for the Watch. Beyond the sleep metric additions, Apple also added Tai Chi and Pilates workouts to its Workout app. Oh, and you can now better customize your watch face to add your photos.

The NPD Take:

  • As updates go, this one feels quite minor. Yes, adding a photo of your loved one to the home screen (er, watch face) is nice, but it’s hardly ground shaking. Tai Chi feels like a great addition to try and draw in more older users perhaps? But again, far from ground shaking
  • In fairness, the big Apple Watch event usually takes place in the Fall – which is when Watch OS 8 will be released. But still, with minor software enhancements, there will be a greater expectation for significant hardware changes to capture the consumer’s attention (and wallet).
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