Market Opportunities for Smart Watches
Smart watches have been around for the last decade. The wearable computing device has failed to take off for one reason or ano
ther. They looked ugly, were too bulky, had weak functionality, or the battery life was not good enough. However, over the last six months we have seen a number of new smart watch launches and consumer perceptions have changed. Smart watches could soon become a key accessory to smartphones, or even an independent communication device. ABI Research presents detailed and comprehensive projections for smart watch technologies. We provide forecasts for smart watches by shipments, average selling price, and revenues for the following key regions: Asia- Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, North America, and Western Europe. Furthermore, evaluations and projections are also included for smart watch types and mobile operating systems and key players in the smart watch market. 智能手表诞生已有十年。可穿戴计算设备却未能迅猛发展。因为他们不美观、笨重、功能 薄弱、电池续航能力低下。然而,在过去的六个月我们已经看到一些新智能手表发布和消费 观念发生了变化。 智能手表可能很快成为智能手机的关键配件、 甚至是一个独立的通信设备。 ABI 研究公司对智能手表技术提出了详细和全面的预测。我们提供预测智能手表发货量, 平均销售价格,和以下关键区域的收入:亚太、东欧、拉丁美洲、中东和非洲,北美和西欧。此 外,还评估和预测智能手表的类型、移动操作系统和智能手表的关键市场角色。 Table of Contents
1. SMART WATCHES 1.1. Battery Life 1.2. Ideal Smart Watch Requirements 1.3. Stand-alone Smart Watches versus Smart Accessory 1.4. Smart Watch Types
2. SMART WATCH FORECASTS 2.1. Overall Smart Watch Market 2.2. Global Market for Smart Watches by Key Region 2.3. Global Market for Smart Watches by Type 2.4. Global Market for Smart Watches by ASP and Revenues
2.5. Global Market for Smart Watch Revenues by Key Region 2.6. Global Market for Smart Watch ASPs by Key Region 2.7. Global Market for Smart Watches by Mobile OSes
3. SMART WATCH VENDORS 3.1. Classic Watch Makers 3.1.1. Casio 3.1.2. Citizen Watches 3.1.3. Others 3.2. Startup Vendors 3.2.1. Cookoo (ConnecteDevice) 3.2.2. I'm Watch 3.2.3. Martian Watches 3.2.4. MetaWatch 3.2.5. Pebble 3.2.6. Others 3.3. Technology Vendors 3.3.1. Apple 3.3.2. Sony 3.3.3. Others 本期目录 1.智能手表 1.1. 电池寿命 1.2. 理想的智能手表需求 1.3. 独立的智能手表和智能配件 1.4. 智能手表类型 2.智能手表预测 2.1. 整体智能手表市场 2.2. 智能手表的全球关键地区市场 2.3. 全球智能手表市场的类型 2.4. 全球智能手表市场的 ASP 和收入 2.5. 全球智能手表市场的收入关键地区 2.6. 全球智能手表市场的 asp 关键地区 2.7. 全球智能手表市场的移动操作系统 3.智能手表供应商 3.1. 经典的手表制造商 3.1.1. 卡西欧
3.1.2. 西铁城 3.1.3. 其他 3.2. 新生派供应商 3.2.1 ConnecteDevice)的 Cookoo 3.2.2. I'm Watch 3.2.3. 火星的手表 3.2.4. MetaWatch 3.2.5. Pebble 3.2.6. 其他 3.3. 技术供应商 3.3.1. 苹果 3.3.2. 索尼 3.3.3. 其他 Tables 1. Global Market for Smart Watches and Smartphones, World Market: 2013 to 2018
2. Global Market for Smart Watches by Key Region, World Market: 2013 to 2018 3. Global Market for Smart Watch Shipments by Type, World Market: 2013 to 2018 4. Global Market for Smart Watch Revenues, World Market: 2013 to 2018 5. Global Revenues for Smart Watches by Key Region, World Market: 2013 to 2018 6. Global ASPs for Smart Watches by Key Region, World Market: 2013 to 2018 7. Global Market for Smart Watches by Mobile OS, World Market: 2013 to 2018 Charts 1. Global Market for Smart Watches and Smartphones, World Market: 2013 to 2018
2. Global Market for Smart Watches by Key Region, World Market, Forecast: 2013 to 2018 3. Global Revenues for Smart Watches by Key Region, World Market: 2013 4. Global Market for Smart Watches by Mobile OS, World Market, Forecast: 2013 to 2018 表目录： 1. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表和智能手机市场 2. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表关键地区市场 3. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表市场的发货类型 4. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表市场收入 5. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表市场关键地区 6. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表市场的 asp 关键地区 7.2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表市场的手机操作系统
图目录： 1. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表和智能手机市场 2. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表关键地区市场 3. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表市场收入 4. 2013 年到 2018 年全球智能手表市场的手机操作系统
Report Predicts 100 Million Smart Watches by 2019
到 2019 年全球智能手表使用量预计突破 1 亿
几年前, 由于手机的有效地替换,手表濒临灭绝。另一方面研究公司的一份新报告表明： 他们以智能手表 的形式卷土归来，并且到 2019 年全球在用的智能手表突破 1 亿只。
Juniper 在报告标题中概述了其调查结果。报告宣称：2014 - 2019 年之间，智能手表的市场动态,供应 商策略、场景预测等软体驱动分化将展开一场激烈的没有硝烟的战争。
该报告引用了一行未来 12 - 18 个月的优质智能手表介绍。其中最大的一个是苹果的手表,除苹果之外还 包括谷歌、索尼和 LG 的智能手表介绍。,豪华手表制造商例如 TAG 和 Heuer 也计划推出自己的智能手 机模型。
除了早期的电话功能外，例如正如其名字所示 Martian Notifier 注重通知，智能手表将新增更多不同的 功能。智能手表已经可以运行一些应用程序了，比如 GPS 和游戏。一些还能接打电话电话和发送短信。
尽管增长较快， 智能手表仍然缺乏一个“杀手级应用”以说服人们去购买。 这可能仍然是一个时间问题。 毕竟,从 1997 年 Apple II 首次推出第一个电子表格（VisiCalc）到电子表格成为商业必备工具也花费了两年 时间。Lotus 1-2-3 从引入到 IBM(新闻/ -警报)电脑到普及开来也花费了两年时间。
虽然 Juniper 引入了 Fitbit 作为一个潜在的杀手级应用,但该公司仍以多样化设备为目标。
即使持续销售、智能手表也不会便宜。Juniper 预计到 2010 年智能手表的成本将超过 200 美元。
A few years ago, it seemed that wristwatches were an endangered species, thanks to cellphones effectively replacing them. A new report from Juniper Research, on the other hand, indicates that they’re coming back in the form of smart watches. The company expects more than 100 million smart watches to be in use by 2019. Juniper outlined its findings in a report titled ―Software-driven Differentiation, with no Killer Apps in Sight According to the report - Smart Watches: Market Dynamics, Vendor Strategies & Scenario Forecasts 2014-2019.‖ The report cites a line of premium smartwatch introductions over the next 12-18 months. One of the biggest is the Apple Watch, but it’s not only Apple, Google, Sony and LG introducing smart watches, luxury watch makers like TAG Heuer are planning on introducing their own models.
Smartwatches will embrace more diverse functionality rather than earlier phones like the Martian Notifier, which as the name suggests, focuses on notifications. Smartwatches can already run a number of applications such as GPS and games. Some can answer phone calls and text messages. Despite their growth, smartwatches still lack a ―killer app‖ that will convince people they have to own one. That still might be a matter of time. After all, it took two years from the Apple II’s introduction in 1977 for VisiCalc, the first computer spreadsheet, to make it into a must-have business tool. Lotus 1-2-3 took two years after the introduction of the IBM (News to do the same thing. Juniper cited Fitbit as a potential killer app, but the company still targets multiple devices. One possible advantage is that smart watches compliment smartphones by being able to handle calls and messages while the device is safely ensconced in a pocket. Even as they keep selling, smart watches won’t be cheap. Juniper expects them to cost over $200 until around 2020. - Alert) PC
Nike and Apple working on ‘stylish’ new wearable technology
据耐克公司首席执行官 Mark Parker 说，苹果和耐克公司正致力于新的可穿戴技术项目，这些技术 能够更加隐形更大力度的集成到现有的产品中。
耐克一直致力于可穿戴技术,最初与苹果合作， 2006 年旗下 Nike+ running 传感器无线连接到了 iPod 上。
4 月份耐克停止了 FuelBand 健身跟踪智能腕带,解散了它的团队,其中两个关键工程师搬到苹果研制
Apple Watch。但 Parker 仍看好未来可穿戴技术是耐克的一个关键部分。
“我认为智能手表显然将是未来的一个重要部分” Parker 在接受 Bloomberg TV 采访时表示。“我认为 它形式至关重要。我认为你可以从今天这些我们或多或少见多的非常不令人满意的穿戴设备中遇见到未来 的状况，可穿戴设备将更隐形,更综合、更时尚、更实用。”
Parker 重申耐克曾与苹果合作过很长一段时间, Parker 本人也与苹果创始人 Steve Jobs 共同工作过， 对于苹果现任首席执行官 Tim Cook 在耐克董事会中也具有极大的优势。
“技术上我们可以共同完成我们单独不能完成的事情” Parker 说。“因此我们的一部分计划是,以可穿戴 的形式扩大整个数字前沿，并将我所说的数千万用户（现在已有 2500 万 Nike +用户）增加到数亿。”
耐克公司决定削减 FuelBand 团队专用的 70 人不完全是一种意外,这发生在第二代健身腕带发布后的 几个月之后。公司说要重新关注其现有的鞋和服装的健身配件,同时推动 Nike +软件和服务。
耐克和苹果合作中新可穿戴技术将采用什么形式是未知的。 耐克有可能在 Apple Watch 中应用集成了 苹果新健康应用的 Nike+应用程序，,但 Parker 的解释指出新产品超越了简单的智能手表应用。
Apple and Nike are working on new item of wearable technology that will have greater integration into existing gadgets, and is less obvious and more ―stealth‖, according to the Nike chief executive, Mark Parker. Nike has long been making wearable technology, originally partnering with Apple for its Nike+ running sensor range in 2006, which connected wirelessly to the iPod. Nike discontinued its FuelBand fitness-tracking bracelet in April, shutting down the team that made it, which saw two of its key engineers move to Apple to work on the Apple Watch. But Parker is still bullish on wearable technology as a key part of Nike’s future. ‘The form it takes is critical’ “I think it’s going to be a big part of the future, absolutely,‖ said Parker in an interview with Bloomberg TV. ―I think the form it takes is critical. You can go from the very geeky kind of wearables today – we’ve all seen some of those – to what I think you’ll see in the future, things that are more stealth, more integrated, more stylish and more functional, yes.‖ Parker reiterated that Nike had worked at length with Apple in the past, with Parker personally working with Apple founder Steve Jobs, and that having on Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, on the board of Nike was a big advantage. “Technologically we can do things together that we couldn’t do independently,‖ Parker said. ―So yeah, that’s part of our plan, to expand the whole digital frontier in terms of wearables, and go from what we say is tens of millions of users – right now there’s 25 million Nike+ users – to hundreds of millions.‖ Nike’s decision to cut its dedicated 70-person FuelBand team did not come as a complete surprise, but it happened only months after the release of its second-generation fitness band. The company said it was to refocus on its existing fitness gadgets in shoes and apparel, while pushing its Nike+ software and services. What form of new wearable technology from the Nike and Apple partnership will take is unknown. Nike is likely to have a Nike+ app for the Apple Watch and one that integrates with Apple’s new Health application, but Parker’s comments indicate something beyond a simple smartwatch app.
Microsoft has its head in the cloud over ugly wearable tech
微软在云端观望丑陋的可穿戴技术 目前微软已经在美国发布了自己的健身追踪器,这意味着人不能只致力于一项事物。但是很多人已经 积累了大量经验。 微软腕带大约正如它说的——一个带屏幕的腕带可以显示不同的数据,比如跑步或者走多远,你的心率 和智能手机通知(电子邮件、日程、消息)。它有自己的全球定位系统,知道你佩戴它的位置。 问题是似乎相当说的测试人员不喜欢佩戴这腕带。 “不舒服,”在PC World 的Jon Phillips说， 他补充 说明到经过两天的测试他认为他可以想象Lindsay Lohan被迫穿警用手铐的感觉。
Molly Wood 在纽约时报中说到：―在手腕顶端安置有屏幕的微软腕带佩戴起来很不舒服。那 感觉就像是努力的让一个圆形的手腕去适应一个方形的腕带。‖
这里有一些明显的问题,比如微软为什么做健身追踪?这是一个以 Windows 和 Office 制造商而被一代 人熟知的公司，也被其他的诸如 Xbox 的创造者熟知。你今天走了多少步与你的心律是多少之间不完全存 在联系 (虽然前者可能有助于后者)。
可以说微软的新“设备和云端”战略——这两个元素都是首要内部配件,首先在对手中——意味着生产 一些可以连接到云端的物理设备， 这样你就可以知道你在 10 月 31 日凌晨 3 点的心率,可以密切的适应自己 的照片，这些照片是在健身追踪器生产者所居住的奇异世界中你所想要构建的。
不像台式机或者笔记本电脑,它们可以看起来丑陋但仍然功能强大,可穿戴码表必须外观和感觉良好。 这是我们我们自己以及选择的表现：如果你选择的东西不好看,这并非意外,和世界上的所有功能(据说腕带 有其中一些功能)不会弥补你看起来像是被软禁了的事实。这是一个高度重视设计师技能的不同时代。
过去在可穿戴领域微软没有显示他的能力,在大多数情况下也没有必要， 虽然持续改进的平板电脑地面 管线显示他们的团队至少在精炼他们的技能。
但不难认为只有具有以下几点的公司才能在可穿戴领域取得成功：最好的硬件设计能力、联合的最佳 新技术可得方式 (注意三星的 Gear Fit 拥有弧形屏幕,因为它们生产这种屏幕)、和最好的软件。 然而现在仍然是早期。如果这是智能手机时代,我们大致仍然处于 2004 年——一个被诺基亚塞班、RI M 的黑莓和 Windows Mobile 支配的小市场。未来还有很长的路要走。
Microsoft has released its own fitness tracker – for the moment in the US only, which means I haven’t been able to lay my hands on one. But plenty of people have, and have written about the experience. The Microsoft Band is roughly what it says it is – a wristband with a screen that shows various bits of data, such as how far you have run or walked, your heart rate and smartphone notifications (email, calendar, messages). And it has its own GPS, so that it knows where you’ve been while wearing it. The problem that quite a few of the testers seemed to have was that they didn’t like wearing the band. ―Uncomfortable,‖ said Jon Phillips at PC World, adding that after two days of testing, he thought he could imagine how Lindsay Lohan must have felt when forced to wear a police ankle bracelet. At the New York Times, Molly Wood said ―the band is uncomfortable to wear with the screen on top of the wrist. It feels like trying to fit a round wrist into a square band.‖ There are some obvious questions here, such as why is Microsoft making a fitness tracker? This is a company better known to people of one generation as the maker of Windows and Office, and to another as the creator of the Xbox. Neither quite implies connection to knowing how many steps you’ve walked today or what your heartbeat is (though it might be useful in the latter). One could argue that Microsoft’s new ―devices and cloud‖ strategy – where both elements are primus inter pares, first among equals – means that making something that is physical, but which also connects to the cloud so that you know just what your heartrate was on 31 October at 3am, fits snugly around the picture of yourself that you want to build in the weird world that people who produce fitness trackers live in. And Microsoft fans – they do exist – have delightedly pointed out that the band is ―sold out‖ on the online Microsoft store. How many were sold? Um, Microsoft’s not saying. I doubt there were many to sell in the first place. If the number bought by people outside Microsoft is in the thousands, I’d be slightly surprised.
The Microsoft Band is ugly, clunky, and, according to reviewers, its heartrate monitoring is not particularly accurate. And the solid, non-curved screen on top isn’t highly rated for comfort. This is where we move into the real world that wearables have to fit into, or wrap around. Unlike a desktop or even laptop computer, which can look ugly but still be wonderfully functional, wearable computers have to look and feel good. They’re an expression of ourselves and our choices: if you choose something that doesn’t look good, it’s not an accident, and all the functionality in the world (and the band is said to have a great deal of it) won’t make up for the fact that you look as though you’re under house arrest. It’s a different era, one where designers’ skills will be at a premium. Microsoft hasn’t in the past impressed with its abilities here; for the most part it hasn’t had to, though the constant improvement in the Surface line of tablets suggests that its teams are at least refining their skills. But it’s not hard to think that it’s the companies with the best hardware design skills, allied to the best access to new technologies (note how Samsung has a curved screen on its Gear Fit, because it makes the screens), and the best software that will succeed in the wearable era. It’s still very early days, though. If this were the smartphone era, we’re still roughly in 2004 – when a tiny market was dominated by Nokia’s Symbian, RIM’s BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. There’s a long way to go.
Forget smartwatches - smartclothes are the future, analysts say
健身追踪器和智能手表在 2015 年将争夺消费者的注意力,但是真正令人兴奋的是智能服饰正在探索用 于跟踪运动员表现。
健身跟踪腕带将在未来 12 个月内的普及流行，根据市场分析,消费者反而选择更加全能的智能手表和 新的智能服饰。
目前对于职业运动员领域，随着消费品变得随手可得，到 2016 年底智能服饰的销售将超过健身追踪 腕带。
Ralph Lauren 马球技术智能衬衫，8 月在美国开放展示, 通过蓝牙连接到智能手机它可以测量心
“因为智能衬衫和其他智能服饰可以容纳多个接近皮肤的传感器,他们可以收集更多的信息和记录更好 的数据,比如心跳的全波脉冲而不仅仅是脉搏,”Gartner 的研究主管 Angela McIntyre 向 Guardian 解释道。
“第一代智能衬衫现在已经可以从像阿迪达斯和 Underarmour 这样的公司销售给职业运动员，但我们 开始注意到常规的服装制造商是兴趣更大的观众,”她说。
智能服装在 2016 年超越腕带
到 2015 年, 将发货 10 m 智能服装,但到 2016 年估计 Gartner 预言出货量将达到超越同年智能腕带 26 米- 7 米以上。
预测 2015 年将推出总 68.1 m 可穿戴的健身设备,包括智能腕带和服装、运动手表、胸肩带和其他健 身监测器。比起 2014 年的 70.2 m 已经下降了,随着智能服饰热潮 2016 年将再次上升到 91.3 m。 据 McIntyre 所说：具有健身跟踪功能的智能手表健身,比如摩托罗拉的 Moto 360 和即将到来的
Apple Watch,将削弱健身跟踪肩带的销量，包括 2015 年的 Jawbone up, 并导致腕带健身产品的发货数
“明年消费者将在腕带和类似功能的智能手表间有更多的选择,“McIntyre 解释道。“但是随着健身和健 康监测市场的扩大并且佩戴传统手表的人们不想手腕上佩戴两个显示器，但是他们会恢复。” Gartner 预测,到 2014 年底全球智能腕带销量将从 2013 年的 30m 下降到 20 m，由于半数考虑腕带 的人反而选择智能手表，到 2015 年将销量将继续下降到 17m。 随着新使用类型的潜在新恐慌，腕带不会完全消失，McIntyre 解释道。她预计在 2016 年年底会有 一个 19m 销售量的复苏。
“到 2016 年我们将看到一些列的设计和功能。那时将会有一个针对我们今日所见的市场,但最令人兴 奋的是腕带和智能手表之间的灰色区域 “McIntyre 说。”这也将有腕带的其他用途，包括访问控制、身份, 快速进入没有公司门禁的建筑。”
智能手表出货量将增长从今年的 10 m 增长到 2015 年的 40m,再到 2016 年的 60m。增加部分主要源 于以下几点的促进：苹果公司的手表，将于 2015 年春季发布的 Android 穿戴设备,但促进也源于传统手表 制造商，比如 Casio 和 Fossil 创设的可通话手表和智能手表。
“我们可以认为智能手表作为电子表的演变,全球共有出售了 12 亿个手表,据 Statistics Brain 统计,其 中 23%是电子表,“McIntyre 解释道。“这些电子表中的一定比例部分将在未来一年时间左右变成可通话手 表。”
“人们基于各种原因佩戴健身跟踪器，在使用六个月后很大一部分人可能认识到他们想要了解的东西， “McIntyre 解释道。“但目前关于可穿戴电子产品的创新层出不穷，如果一个设备不再工作，那么人们就有 可能在一个他们觉得实惠的价格点去尝试不一样的东西或者一个完全不同的类型”。
比如 McIntyre,对新的或现有用户，这里有一个可能是最有趣的特性，在 2015 年健身配件心律检测器 正在逐渐下降为新一波更加实惠的产品。
Fitness trackers and smartwatches will battle for consumer attention in 2015 - but the real excitement is in the smartclothing being explored by athletes to track performance The popularity of fitness-tracking wristbands will wane in the next 12 months, according to market analysts, as consumers opt instead for more versatile smartwatches and new smartclothing. Currently the domain of professional athletes, smart clothing will overtake the sale of fitness trackers by the end of 2016 as consumer products become available. The Polo Tech smartshirt by Ralph Lauren, which was shown off at the US Open in August, can measure heart rate and respiration connecting to a smartphone via Bluetooth. Just one example of technology integrated into clothing, the shirt could displace traditional chest straps and other wearable fitness gadgets for fitness enthusiasts and athletes. “Because smartshirts and other smartgarments can hold more sensors closer to the skin, they can collect more information and produce better data, like the full wave of the heart beat rather than just the pulse,‖ Gartner research director Angela McIntyre explained to the Guardian.
“First-generation smartshirts have been available from companies like Adidas and Underarmour for a while now marketing them to professional athletes, but we’re starting to see interest from regular manufacturers of garments for a much larger audience,‖ she said. Smart garments to overtake wristbands during 2016 In 2015, 10m smart garments will be shipped, but by 2016 Gartner predicts that shipments will increase to an estimated 26m – 7m more than smart wristbands that same year. A forecast 68.1m total wearable fitness devices, including smart wristbands and garments, sports watches, chest straps and other fitness monitors, will be shipped in 2015. That’s down from 70.2m in 2014, before increasing again to 91.3m as smart garments boom in 2016. Smartwatches that have fitness-tracking functions, such as Motorola’s Moto 360 and the upcoming Apple Watch, will cannibalise sales of fitness tracking bands including the Jawbone up in 2015, according to McIntyre, leading to a decline in the number of wristband fitness gadgets shipped. “Consumers will have more choices next year between wristbands and smartwatches that have similar functionality,‖ McIntyre explained. ―But they will recover, due to a growing market for fitness and health monitoring and with people who don’t want to have two screens on their wrists and wear a wristband with a traditional watch.‖ Gartner predicts that 20m smart wristbands will be sold globally by the end of 2014, down from 30m in 2013, which will further decrease to 17m in 2015 as half of people considering buying a wristband opt for a smartwatch instead. Wristbands won’t entirely disappear, however, with a new flurry of potential for new kinds of use, McIntyre explained. She predicts a resurgence in 2016 with 19m sold by the end of the year. “We’re going to see quite a spectrum of designs and capabilities by 2016. There will be a market for what we see today, but what’s most exciting is this grey area between what is a wristband and a smartwatch,‖ said McIntyre. ―The will also be other uses for wristbands including access control, identity, getting into buildings quickly without a corporate band.‖ Smartwatches will increase in shipments from 10m this year to 40m in 2015 and 60m in 2016. This increase is powered partly by Apple’s Watch, due for release in spring 2015 and Android
Wear, but also driven by traditional watch manufacturers launching connected watches or smartwatches such as Casio and Fossil. “We could think of smartwatches as the evolution of the digital watch, there are 1.2bn watches sold globally, according to Statistics Brain, with 23% of those being digital watches,‖ explained McIntyre. ―A certain percentage of those digital watches will become connected watches in the next year or so.‖ Whether users will stick with their new smart wearables is unclear, with half of Americans who own a fitness tracker no longer using it and one-third found to ditch wearables within six months. “People wear fitness trackers for various reasons and a good number of people may learn what they want to know after six months of using them,‖ explained McIntyre. ―But there’s so much innovation happening at the moment with these wearable electronics it’s quite possible if one device doesn’t work for them they’re at a price point where someone could feel free to try something different or in a totally different category.‖ For McIntyre, the one feature that is likely to be the most interesting for new and existing users of fitness gadgets heart rate monitoring, which is making its way down into a new wave of more affordable gadgets in 2015.
Sony SmartWatch 3 review: Poor screen and no heart monitor make Sony's SmartWatch 3 third time unlucky
Sony's previous efforts at making a smartwatch haven't exactly been successes. In fact, the SmartWatch 2 was pretty awful. Seemingly keen to learn from its mistakes, however, Sony is back with a third generation of its computerised wristwear, unsurprisingly named the SmartWatch 3. The SmartWatch 3 has an improved design -- including better waterproofing and interchangeable straps -- and crucially, Sony has ditched its clunky and unpleasant custom interface. It now runs Android Wear, the smartwatch software developed by Google that aims to provide a unified platform for companies like Sony, Samsung, LG and
Motorola to load on to their products and allow developers to create apps that can run equally well across all devices. The SmartWatch 3 is on sale now and costs ? 190 in the UK, direct from Sony, $250 in the US also from Sony, and AU$315 in Australia from Expansys.
Design and display
Instead of opting for a more traditional circular watch face, like the LG G Watch R, the SmartWatch 3 has a square face. Together with the rubber strap, which meets the glass of the display, this makes it look much more like a fitness device than a regular watch. It certainly doesn't have the same luxury charm as the metal and leather G Watch R.
It's not unattractive as such, but the plain square face and black rubber strap are a little dull. It's not the sort of elegant watch you'd want to keep on while all dressed up in your best party outfit -- whereas the G Watch R remained on my wrist in my best suit at a birthday bash and didn't look at all out of place. The flexible rubber strap is comfortable to wear, although the watch unit itself is quite chunky and a little on the heavy side. I certainly didn't want to keep it on while I slept. Part of the reason the watch is quite chunky is that there's a micro-USB port for charging built directly into it. It allows you to plug the
charging cable directly into it, without needing to use a separate charging cradle, something that's required on all other Android Wear watches. This is a real bonus, as I find the cradles a massive hassle -- you need to always remember to take it with you if you're going away overnight. A neat trick the SmartWatch 3 has up its sleeve is the ability to remove the actual watch unit from the strap. The screen pops out from its rubber surround, allowing you to change the colour and style of the strap. Although only black and bright lime-green straps are available right now, Sony tells me that different colours will become available, which should help make it look a little more uniquely yours than this bog-standard black version.
The SmartWatch 3 is totally waterproof, not just water-resistant, meaning you don't need to worry about ruining your expensive new toy when you're washing the dishes. It also means you don't have to take it off in the shower -- handy when you're cleaning off after a good workout in the gym -- although be aware that the falling water droplets will activate the touchscreen, which will accidentally pause whatever you're listening to. (Listening to podcasts in the gym shower while your phone sits in a locker may admittedly be a fairly niche use that only I will ever worry about.)
Display and watch faces
The watch face itself has a 1.6-inch square display with a 320x320-pixel resolution. That's basically the same as other watches we've seen, so it's no surprise that the screen looks about as sharp as its competitors. It's fairly bright -- although under very bright lights it can be difficult to read -- but its colours are quite weak, particularly when compared to the more vibrant LG G Watch R. Viewing angles aren't great either, meaning you have to angle it in just the right way to get an optimal view.
Colours aren't a huge problem, as you won't be watching videos or browsing images on it -- Android Wear could be in black and white and it wouldn't make much difference to functionality. The viewing angles are more of a problem, however. Given that the watch will move around on your wrist, you won't always have the best view when you bring it up to your eyeline. The display is at the very least legible, but it's generally unimpressive and it's definitely a mark against it, in comparison to the G Watch R or Samsung's Gear Live. It comes with a selection of faces to choose from, which help customise the look of the watch, but it's not a big selection and few of them really stand out to me. They're mostly digital clocks that, while matching the sporty look of the watch itself, don't really help make it look any more elegant. The LG G Watch
R has a much wider selection of faces, many of which look like they've been lifted straight off real luxury watches.