The smartwatch technology market has seen a steep rise amongst consumers over the past 3-4 years and shows no signs of down-turning. With the Apple vs Google competition at maximum overdrive, consumers are being given more choice and therefore, more reason to align their loyalty. With Apple leading the brand market, Android’s open-source technology is free to gobble up the remaining outliers. This appears to evidence a direct competitive strategy, with both companies using opposing tactics.
Other companies are making leaps and bounds within the market, however, and it has been reported that three of these companies are entering the competition by developing their own smartwatch technology – at a time critical in both Samsung’s and Apple’s recent and impending launches.
With one of the three reported companies implementing its own LTE mobile, and two having a longer battery life than Apple or Samsung, the technology community is waiting with poised wrists.
One of the major criticisms of both Apple and Samsung products is their inability to hold a charge without a daily charge cycle. Two of the new additions have listened to the market and have developed smartwatches that have longer extending battery life.
The Vivoactive 3, developed by Garmin, is one of the smartwatches that are said to have extended their battery life, with the company reporting that their unit can last for up to a week without charge in smartphone mode without compromising on features. This has piqued interest from consumers as Apple’s Apple Watch, which also has GPS, heart-rate monitoring and NFC – still frustrating users with its compromised battery life.
The beneficial features do not stop there – in comparison, the Vivoactive 3 can display both Android and IOS notifications whilst having an ‘always on display’ – whereas the Apple Watch darkens when idle. Garmin has also developed a hybrid smartwatch in the Vivomove HR – a unit which has most of the features above (no NFC or GPS), whilst also having an embedded OLED display to track your activities, display traditional moving-hand time and also receives smartphone notifications; the Vivomove HR does not have extended battery life however.
Fitbit has also made steps in the smartwatch market, matching many of the features of the Apple Watch and Vivomove. Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch’s estimated battery life is, however, shortened by 10 hours with the inclusion of GPS (constantly active) – it handles NFC mobile payments and can also display Android and IOS notifications. It has an estimated four days of battery life in regular smartwatch mode and it’s estimated 10-hour life cycle with GPS on, this unit still outlasts the Apple Watch. With 2.5 GB of memory for music, it may challenge consumers’ loyalty – but with its square face display, Apple and Garmin’s tried-and-tested round-face display may still resonate with zealots and fans alike.
Samsung has developed a fourth rendition it’s well-received Gear Sport model – with the new model handling GPS, Samsung Pay, always-on-display and both IOS and Android notifications. The new model boasts water resistance up to 50 metres, has 4 GB of storage and has been redesigned to make it more rugged and streamlined to fit the design of many of its Samsung Galaxy range of phones. Samsung, however, has not prioritised battery life as it’s core marketing appeal, but has approximately 31 hours in default, with users reporting battery life north of 89 hours after optimising the watch to ‘power saving’ mode; this also outlasts the Apple Watch.
Whichever smartwatch you decide to invest in, it is worth noting each of the competitor’s features, whilst also taking into account each of the units estimated battery life. I myself use the Samsung Gear Sport 3 along with my Samsung Galaxy S7 – I count myself as a Samsung follower, however, with my choice of activity being cycling, I can spend up to 3 days on the road. In future, I will be looking toward Garmin and Fitbit, as their units have good enough features, whilst having optimised battery life. After researching this topic thoroughly, I now feel that the time may be now to throw away any consumer loyalty and begin to ‘watch’ the horizon of this ever competitive market.