It seems like everywhere you look there’s yet another advertisement for yet another smartwatch - a newer, better, faster, cooler smartwatch than any you’ve ever seen before. Judging solely by the amount of tech talk devoted to smartwatches, you’d think that they were pretty popular gadgets to have, but as it turns out, not very many are using smartwatches at all.
A new report surfaced recently claiming that less than 0.1% of Android users are actually using Android Wear, which is a shockingly low number considering how much coverage Android Wear - and smartwatches in general - actually gets.
Smartwatches have been the talk of the town as of late, especially after the Pebble Smartwatch made such a huge impression with its kickstarter campaign back in 2012. With a successful campaign that raised over $10 million, many assumed that the smartwatch would be the next big thing in the industry - and it probably would be if anybody could figure out just how to make the smartwatch work well enough for people to actually want to use it. Therein lies the biggest problem.
Clearly something isn’t right. Smartwatches have evolved over the past few years, sure. You’ve gone from having something as simple as the Pebble smartwatch to smartwatches that are almost (almost being the key word here) an entire smartphone on their own. You have smartwatches with cameras, full LCD displays, apps, the ability to make and receive calls - the whole shebang. As great as it might seem that smartwatches are now so close to acting like actual smartphones, it feels like the purpose is defeated. Why would I really need two smartphones, essentially? Especially if I need both in proximity to each other in order for the smartwatch to reach its full potential?
At least, that’s what I asked myself. And then I realized that I already have the answer: I don’t have a need for the smartwatch, but some people do. Certain jobs, certain lifestyles, I’m sure could benefit from using a smartwatch over a smartphone. But myself personally? I’m perfectly fine with using my smartphone, and just my smartphone. I don’t need an extension of my smartphone.
And I think that might be what’s happened with smartwatches at this point. For most people it’s not a need, it’s an accessory, and not a necessary accessory at that. It’s not like a case or a screen protector, which protect the initial investment. It’s an extra gadget that, at the moment, also suffers from certain flaws like limited battery life and many times (especially in the case of Android Wear at this point) is at least half as expensive as a flagship phone and sometimes even more expensive than certain smartphones themselves.
At the end of the day, is it surprising that such a small number of Android users are actually using Android Wear? Not really. Smartwatches aren’t taking off as rapidly as smartphones seemed to post iPhone release, but that’s becuase the real need for them isn’t as great as it was for smartphones. I think that once smartwatches have better battery life and can work alone without the need for a smartphone, the demand for them could be much greater. Until then, the amount of coverage in the media over smartwatches will likely overpower the actual amount of people you see on the streets wearing a smartwatch.