We will see some big changes and exciting, new developments in the wearable industry. Some may bring the industry to a new direction and introduce more functionality to users. Here are things to expect:
Google buys Fitbit
The acquisition of Fitbit by Google is still under scrutiny by US regulatory bodies, but the European Union already approved the deal. The finalization of the deal will take place this year and it’s interesting what it means for smartwatches from Google. Pixel smartwatches still have limited market share and the brand needs a shot in the arm. The popularity of Fitbit could help Google to get a stronger foothold in the wearable market.
Harmony OS for smartwatch
Huawei is forced to develop its own software solution due to Google services bans. The Harmony OS is originally developed for Huawei’s smartphones and its lite version could be applied for smartwatches. Footages from Huawei’s Developer conferences have given us the first glimpses of the lightweight software. It seems to have activity tracking, heart rate measurement and SpO2 sensor. The first smartwatch with Harmony OS could land later this year.
More competition among budget smartwatches
Many customers still prefer cheaper smartwatches that already give adequate functionality. There will be competition among manufacturers and brands of budget smartwatches, like Fitbit, TicWatch, Redmi, Realme, Xiaomi and Amazfit. Sub-$100 smartwatches have been proven to be good alternatives to more expensive smartwatches from Apple and Samsung. The Amazfit Bip S ($79.99) is an example of decent smartwatch with good functionality, just like the Bip U, Wyze Watch, Realme Watch S and Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite.
More hybrid smartwatches from Swatch
Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is the first hybrid smartwatch from Fitbit with custom-built operating system. Swatch Group has other popular brands like Hamilton, Omega and Blancpain. If Swatch wants to maintain its relevance in the industry, they should be serious in releasing more hybrids or fully digital smartwatches. The Connect Solar is a showcase for Swatch’s first hybrid and the company can potentially deliver something unique, different or even ground-breaking in the industry.
OnePlus is a major smartphone brand and finally, it releases the first ever smartwatch. The digital wearable has been in the development since 2014 and CEO Pete Lau already confirmed it. We can expect that it will have Google’s Wear OS and we still have no real indication about the hardware design. The OnePlus brand is under BBK Electronics, that also owns Realme and Oppo brands. Hopefully, OnePlus smartwatch will be something that’s worth waiting for with good design and functional features for users.
Wear OS 3.0
Wear OS is a universal platform for smartwatch manufacturers that don’t develop their own software. Google released the original Watch OS in 2014, followed by Wear OS 2.0 in 2017. It’s time for Google to release a major iteration of the software. With the new operating system version, Google can keep smartwatch manufacturers on board and show them that the software is still something to stick with.