Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

Google offers Pixel tease

Google put out a short YouTube teaser for the upcoming Pixel Watch, which is expected to be unveiled on October 6. While there is still plenty of room for additional surprises, such as how well the Watch integrates with the rest of Google’s ecosystem, we at least have a clearer idea about the design, how the watch straps click into place and the interface. And it looks nice and slick, which does bode well (to an extent) for potential consumer uptake.

The NPD Take:

  • But, and there is always a “but” isn’t there, it’s unclear just how big the market potential for the Pixel Watch is. The device is far from low-end (starting at $349 for the LTE version) which puts it firmly in Apple and Samsung territory. Discount Apple, as those users are not going to abandon their watch and ecosystem, and Google is looking to compete against the well-established Samsung range (which has the added benefit of older versions to sell at a discount) and Fitbit… which, of course means Google will be competing against itself.
  • We expect the main threat, what there is of one, to be aimed at Samsung’s watch base, rather than driving a significant number of new consumers into the watch market. And Samsung has two clear advantages: a core base of existing watch customers and a strong smartphone base, which drives the logical consumer decision to stick with the phone brand when buying into the watch category in order to ensure the best possible experience.

Fitbit becomes more Google connected

Google is looking to integrate Fitbit products more closely with the mothership’s products. As from next year, new Fitbit devices will require a Google account as a starting point, rather than the previous Fitbit account.

The NPD Take:

  • Consider this step one on a road to closer integration. Over time, we should expect Google to look for a relatively standardized connection between its portfolio of wearables (be they Fitbit or Google origin) and the apps and services.
  • This may result in Fitbit’s premium membership being available to Google’s upcoming Pixel watch, and (of course) a rebranding of the service to reflect Google.
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