Smartwatches Struggle With Mainstream Adoption: Gartner
The limited functionality of the current crop of smartwatches from Samsung and others curtails their broader appeal, Gartner analysts said.Smartwatches are unlikely to be featured on many consumers' holiday wish lists this year, despite the media hype around models from Samsung and Kickstarter-funded independent developers, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner. There are models that could potentially replace a smartphone entirely—as they include all technologies down to cellular connectivity, while others can perform message display, initiate voice calls and music streaming. However, the limited functionality of the current crop of devices curtails their broader appeal. "Samsung and other well-known vendors have recently entered the smartwatch space, yet the products we have seen so far have been rather uninspiring in terms of design, available apps and features," Annette Zimmermann, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "As a result, Gartner predicts that wearable devices will remain a companion to mobile phones at least through 2017, with less than 1 percent of premium phone users opting to replace their phone with a combination of a wearable device and a tablet." The report noted there are still several significant barriers to mainstream adoption, including low interest and awareness among consumers, poor design and price. For example, the majority of products that have been designed or launched so far have displays that Gartner analysts predict many consumers will find "unstylish" due to their bulkiness.
"Users expect more than just more convenience from a new product category that claims to be innovative and priced at $200 to $300," Zimmermann continued. "The same price will fund basic tablets with a good feature set. For the coming holiday season users are more likely to pick the basic tablet option rather than a smart watch as the value proposition is clearer."