Wearables Week In Review

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Week In Review

Garmin Forerunner 955 Rumors

Garmin’s Australian web site briefly showed details of a new Forerunner 955, which presumably would be an upgrade to the current 945 version. And it looks like there will be an LTE version of the watch. However, quite what that LTE will support is more questionable: the Forerunner 945 also has an LTE version, but the cellular functionality is quite limited. It is less likely to be a full “smartwatch” type connection, allowing calls, messages, streaming music and so forth, and more focused on the specific needs of serious athletes, who need emergency connections. As such, the new Forerunner sounds like it will remain in the category of connected (smart) sports watch, aimed at triathletes, rather than a more generic smartwatch with all the features that typically brings

The NPD Take:

  • While we would like to see Garmin launch a watch with full LTE functionality, the Forerunner range is probably not the place for it as it does not support full third-party apps anyway. Perhaps that requires a significant Fenix upgrade instead.

More Pixel Rumors

Rumors continue to swirl regarding a Pixel Watch from Google at some point this year. The best guess is that IF the watch arrives this year, it will be announced on May 26 at Google’s IO 2022 event. The same rumors claim Google’s watch will have a circular face and we expect that there will be at least one model with LTE support. But let’s caveat these rumors a little: we’ve been hearing about the supposed Pixel Watch since 2018 or so. As mentioned, May 26 will be a key date: if it is not announced then, we expect the rumors to damp down for another 6 months or so.

The NPD Take:

  • A Pixel Watch would be a key addition for Google, setting the bar (alongside Samsung) on what a watch should do. While the Android community has a broad range of choices, many of them are seen as second tier compared to the Apple Watch, and Google is slowly losing marketshare to Apple in the ecosystem battle, with customers migrating to Apple (iPhone) so that they can use the Apple Watch.
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