The Wear OS smartwatch market based continues to feel the tremors of the recent Google + Samsung partnership. There is a feeling that things will coalesce further to form a more homogenous and coherent platform that could compete better with the Apple Watch.
Qualcomm just announced that it would do its part to strengthen that market. First, there are plans to release new ultra-low-power Snapdragon Wear processors designed “from the ground up”.
These chips continuously take advantage of progress induced by the mobile handset market and leverage existing technologies for wearables.
Secondly, Qualcomm also wants to throw its weight in the app space because that is now the frontlines of wearable technologies. With the newly announced Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator program, Qualcomm aims at helping OEMs streamline and improve their production process. It’s just really hard to navigate the complete ecosystem when you want to build these products.
The goal is to have watch OEMs focus on making their product unique (style, fashion), while Qualcomm helps them ensure that the technological foundation and Wear features are working perfectly.
Ideally, OEMs would also integrate the latest Qualcomm technologies, giving the whole Snapdragon Wear platform an edge against would-be competitors.
Any device with this level of complexity represents an engineering challenge to OEMs, and the experience or engineering resources Qualcomm can bring could cut months, if not years, of development.
For example, a company like Fossil dramatically benefits from such a close relationship with Qualcomm and is arguably way ahead of many competitors.
This year, Fossil plans to bring what it deems to be “the best possible Wear OS smartwatch” to consumers. We are looking forward to seeing it, and in the meantime, you can check the rumors about Samsung’s next smartwatch.
Smartwatches will continue to evolve in the right direction, and the nearly 30% growth of that market shows there’s interest from the public when the technology improves their lives.
After years on the market, the primary use cases (information, music) are well understood, and more advanced applications are being streamlined (health, sensing, enterprise, kids). The idea of hands-free computing is one of the most important and currently underserved opportunity this industry has.
At the same time, the technology footprint on product designs is more discrete, freeing great design opportunities that are key to user adoption. As Ubergizmo’s co-founder Eliane Fiolet said: the most challenging part in the Wearable Technology space is to get people to… wear the device.