Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

Garmin looks for the elite

Garmin has added another high-end variant to its watch range, in collaboration with Porsche Design. The watch is a branded version of the high-end Epix 2 from Garmin, which is a supercharged version of the Fenix 7 watch. The Porsche x Epix 2 has a silver and black case with a smattering of red around the main button on the side. The Porsche logo is on the chunky – sporty – black wristband. The real branding, of course, is with the exclusive Porsche Design watch faces that play on the Porsche heritage, such as a 911-esque interface. The watch will cost an eye-watering $1,250 – a $250 premium over the standard Epix 2. But hey, if you own a Porsche, the money is probably not too much of an issue.

The NPD Take:

  • Garmin seems to be focusing more and more on high-end variants of its standard watches, carving out additional niches in the market. That has become increasingly important since Apple launched its rugged Ultra watch last month, which is more squarely targeted at Garmin’s audience.
  • The branded niches are a great move. Watch aficionados want to stand out with their device, rather than wearing the same device that is affordable to everyone. It’s why, in many ways, we can see this as Garmin continuing to focus on the high-end market that is interested in TAG Heuer and Hublot smartwatches.

Samsung ring rumor

Samsung may be planning to launch a smart ring, at least according to a patent uncovered by Korean outlet Naver. According to Naver, the patent suggests a sensor-packed device that can take blood pressure readings in addition to the usual array of health and fitness tracking. What makes this more interesting is that the patent hints at possible integration with the smart home, allowing the wearer to control smartphones, TVs and other smart home devices. And since Samsung has a rather large stake in the smart home market – with SmartThings, as well as major appliances such as washing machines – this could make the ring a far more unique device.

The NPD Take:

  • Interacting with devices around you by (presumably) waving your hands around would be highly interesting functionality. Apart from being able to control smart home products (you could wave your robotic robot away when it was annoying you) it could also be an interesting device for viewing pictures on your TV and other devices. And by other devices… we are thinking of control for smart glasses. So this could be part of a long term strategic play of great importance.
  • But to dampen our spirits a little… it’s a patent which is not necessarily the promise of a future device at all. Time will tell, but consider us intrigued.
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