If you predicted that the upcoming release of the Apple Watch would spark interest in the smartwatch industry, it would seem that you’re not particularly wrong. Articles and discussions are popping up all over the place on the web, wondering whether the Apple Watch will follow in the footsteps of Apple’s preceding mobile gadgets like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, all of which are extremely popular gadgets.
With Apple now officially taking part in this push for smartwatches to become a mainstream product, that makes three makers out of the four major mobile operating systems who now partake in this movement: Apple with Apple Watch, Google with Android Wear platform, and Microsoft with Microsoft Band.
BlackBerry is rather quiet on the topic of smartwatches. During CES earlier this year, BlackBerry announced that the popular BlackBerry Messaging platform would be available for Android Wear devices, so it’s not like BlackBerry doesn’t think that smartwatches are completely useless.
But while I think the addition of BlackBerry Messenger on smartwatches are a good idea, I think BlackBerry releasing their own smartwatch would be an even better idea.
It’s still anyone’s guess on whether smartwatches will end up being a true gadget of the future or a niche fad for a couple of years. Judging by the rate that companies are pumping them out, you’d think that smartwatches are at least somewhat in high demand; however, when you look at the sales numbers of smartwatches, you’ll see that adoption rates of smartwatches are currently rather sluggish.
Even with the slow adoption rate of smartwatches, I think every day that goes by where BlackBerry doesn’t announce a smartwatch of their own is taking a big risk on missing a key market that I could go for smartwatches, and that’s the market that BlackBerry is always aiming to please: business professionals.
When you think about it, business professionals are typically some of the busiest people you can think of. They’re also the people who constantly need to be on their phone for e-mails, important notifications, phone calls, and documents, all of which can be very distracting from one’s day if you’re constantly taking your phone out of your pocket to check new notifications. A smartwatch would likely ease up on the level of distractions.
Affordability is also an issue that comes with smartwatches today (as in typically they're not very), but BlackBerry doesn’t have to worry about that so much. Even if BlackBerry chose not to make the cheapest smartwatch on the market, they wouldn’t exactly have to. By catering to business professionals, they’re targeting a market of people who have (typically) well-paying jobs that can afford such a luxury.
The biggest hurdle that BlackBerry would have to jump at this point is, unfortunately, waiting to see how well the Apple Watch does. I think BlackBerry could have done themselves a favor if they had released a smartwatch of their own before Apple did, but I don’t think that it’s entirely too late just yet. BlackBerry’s smartwatch might never be popular outside of the office, but it would seem like that’s not really the company’s goal anymore. They’ve made it clear that their focus is mainly on business professionals, which they’ve done a fairly decent job of maintaining over the years.
With that being said, I think BlackBerry needs to take this risk. As I mentioned earlier, the world seems to be holding its breath, waiting to see whether the smartwatch turns into this necessary wearable of the future; if it turns out that the popularity of the smartwatch does indeed snowball from this point forward, BlackBerry might be jeopardizing their relationship with business users by not jumping on this bandwagon soon enough. So the sooner they take the plunge, the safer I think they’ll be.
What are your thoughts, readers? Do you think that BlackBerry should get on the ball when it comes to smartwatches, or do you think that they’re better off waiting to see whether smartwatches actually take off in order to reduce risk of wasted money? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!