10 Reasons to Buy a Smartwatch Instead of a Plain Old Timepiece

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-02-22
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Reasons to Buy a Smartwatch Instead of a Plain Old Timepiece
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    10 Reasons to Buy a Smartwatch Instead of a Plain Old Timepiece

    Consumer interest in smartwatches is growing—and for good reason. We look at why smartwatches may be a better buy than the typical timepieces.
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    It's Not Just About Telling Time
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    It's Not Just About Telling Time

    Not all traditional watches only tell the time and date—there are many multifunction watches that provide other features as well. Still, smartwatches are much more powerful than even those watches. Smartwatches can monitor heart health, fitness levels, exercise goals and much more.
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    Apple Offers a Solid Product
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    Apple Offers a Solid Product

    Thank Apple for the popularity of smartwatches. Strategy Analytics says Apple Watch accounts for the vast majority of smartwatch sales, and the reason is simple: Apple Watch has a strong design and a long list of capabilities that make it more appealing than many traditional watches on the market.
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    Customization Options Are Endless
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    Customization Options Are Endless

    One of the things that smartwatch owners particularly like is the ability to customize their devices as they see fit. If, for example, they want to go out to dinner, they can swap out the sporty wristband they were wearing while running that morning with something a bit more luxurious. Smartwatches also come in several shapes and sizes, allowing consumers to find the right device for any need.
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    There's Little Loss in Luxury
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    There's Little Loss in Luxury

    As Strategy Analytics notes, Swiss watches have been synonymous with luxury for more than 150 years, and that has made them quite popular. But they now have competition in that area, as there are a number of smartwatches that don't compromise on luxury. There's a gold Apple Watch, Motorola and Pebble use steel, and Sony has designed a smartwatch that looks like a traditional timepiece. And now even the Swiss are making smartwatches—for example, the Breitling Exospace B55 connected watch.
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    Application Marketplaces Are Growing
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    Application Marketplaces Are Growing

    Apps make smartwatches even more appealing, and those application marketplaces are growing each week. Indeed, many developers are making new apps for both Android Wear and Apple Watch that extend smartwatch functionality. Today, smartwatch owners can do everything from turn on the lights in their house to read PDFs from that small device on their wrists. That's an appealing feature that's just not available in traditional watches. Image 5: Please use this image:
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    There's an Affordability Factor Here
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    There's an Affordability Factor Here

    One of the hallmarks of many Swiss watches is their price tags. It's not uncommon, in fact, for consumers to spend thousands, if not tens of thousands, on a high-end watch. But for a few hundred dollars (if that), those same consumers can get their hands on a smartwatch that comes with far more functionality. There are expensive smartwatches, like Apple's gold Apple Watch Edition, but for the majority of customers, spending less than $1,000 will deliver all of the features they'd want.
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    Software Keeps Getting Better
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    Software Keeps Getting Better

    The operating systems built into smartwatches also deserve some credit. Apple's WatchOS 2 is a major upgrade over the first generation. Meanwhile, Google continues to upgrade Android Wear, and Pebble has consistently improved is own e-ink platform with important features, including improved handling of notifications. As those operating systems improve, the smartwatch experience will improve with them.
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    Full Integration With Smartphones
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    Full Integration With Smartphones

    Smartphones have become ubiquitous in the developed world, but they can't always be pulled out of a purse or pocket during a meeting to see who just called or texted. That's where smartwatches can come in. With a simple flick of the wrist, it's possible to see every notification tied to a connected smartphone. Smartwatches have added a convenience factor to owning smartphones that traditional watches can't match.
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    The Fitness Opportunities Are Fantastic
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    The Fitness Opportunities Are Fantastic

    For fitness fanatics, smartwatches have quickly become a must-have. Most of the smartwatches available now come with a heart-rate monitor, distance tracker and many other fitness-related features aimed at helping people stay healthy. Again, traditional watches fall short in that respect and, at least for athletes, may make them less appealing.
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    Traditional Watchmakers Are Joining In
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    Traditional Watchmakers Are Joining In

    Traditional watchmakers have realized that they cannot simply stand by and watch as companies such as Apple and Samsung take their customers. To address that, several prominent watchmakers, including Breitling, Fossil and others, have decided to invest in smartwatches. So, for those who prefer to stick with traditional watchmakers, options are available. And the best part is the number of traditional watchmakers entering the smartwatch market will only increase in the coming years.
 

Traditional watches, either digital or analog, are still popular, but a new study from research firm Strategy Analytics shows that consumer interest in smartwatches is growing quickly. In the fourth quarter of 2015, worldwide smartwatch sales hit 8.1 million units, a 315.6 percent increase compared with the 1.9 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2014. Fourth-quarter smartwatch sales even outpaced traditional Swiss watches, which mustered 7.9 million unit sales worldwide. While that figure was down just 5 percent year-over-year, Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics' executive director, says the data is clear: "The Swiss watch industry has been very slow to react to … smartwatches." One of the major reasons is smartwatches can do much more besides tell the time and date, just as smartphones are able to do a lot more than basic cell phones. This slide show examines the reasons why smartwatches have become so popular and why they may be a better buy than the typical timepieces that people have used for centuries. The times are changing, and smartwatches are a big reason why.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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