Yes, the headline is sensational and I won’t make you read the full post to find out why. In a nutshell the reason I feel this will be the case is because a single purpose device commanding your wrist will eventually seem very limiting. With the release of Android Wear and along with the eventual iWatch our wrists should become prime real estate providing the ability to have apps powered by their an existing OS that will greatly supplement our smart-phones. As various hardware makers add sensors, provide many hardware variations, to provide activity tracking and a multitude of other features, the dedicated tracker won’t stand a chance.
Another major reason I see this happening is that with Google Fit and Apple’s Health Kit the plan is to provide a platform to make activity and other personal data tracking communicate with each other to provide the insights that currently can be difficult to do in aggregation services or manually. This push by Google and Apple is going to give them some big advantages over other device makers helping their devices gain support.
This I believe will require several planets aligning. The current crop of smart-watches aren’t quite ready for prime time and is why my headline has the word “eventually”. One of the biggest reasons these new wrist-bound devices will struggle is limited battery life. Having a device that realistically needs to be charged overnight will be a deal-breaker for many. Hell the convenience of not having to charge my Garmin Vivofit for a full year was one of the primary reasons I chose to switch to it. As device makers integrate sensors, and the apps that take advantage of them are refined some folks may already begin to sway. But once battery life reaches similar levels of most current activity trackers offer, we may start to see a shift.
As Android Wear and the iWatch begin maturing it will be interesting to watch how many activity tracking wristband wearing folks begin to consider replacement. Everyone will have specific things holding them back but I’d imagine that eventually there will be so many advantages we’ll see a breaking point. After reading this good Android Wear review by Engadget along with this post titled Android Wear: Way better than you think I can begin to see how much additional value we can get from having a single device strapped to our wrists that offers other benefits. Being able to remotely control our smart-phones as well as receive information from them appears to be a major benefit in addition to being able to provide activity tracking.
I’m looking forward to finally seeing what Apple is hiding behind the curtain and how both they and Google continue the refinement process to eventually add much more utility to our wrists.