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Forbes India Magazine – The battle of Smart watches

The Apple Watch 2 was launched in September this yr. In 2015, when Apple launched the primary model, it not solely created a brand new product, but in addition offered shoppers with a brand new product class

You might name Sameer Hiremath an Apple aficionado. The 42-year-previous joint managing director and president of Hikal, a specialty chemical compounds and prescription drugs agency (half of the Kalyani Group), can’t wait to get his arms on the subsequent product the corporate launches. So, in April 2015, when the a lot-awaited iOS-built-in system Apple Watch was launched, Hiremath was clearly in queue.

“I already owned several other products like the iPad and the iPhone. I had moved to the light side from the dark,” he says. So Hiremath purchased a 42-mm Apple Watch from New York, considering it might be useful for fitness center exercises, with its all-day exercise tracker, heartbeat sensor, a exercise app, calorie counter, and a weekly transfer aim abstract.

But the watch got here with extra. For occasion, it allowed him to retailer and play music—there was no want to hold an iPod anymore. “[The watch] has also become my phone at corporate meetings,” he provides. “It is obviously impolite to keep looking at your smartphone during meetings or presentations… I can view and respond to SMSes and WhatsApp messages [on my watch] at once.”

For Hiremath, who owns different luxurious watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai and Omega, the Apple Watch is now a every day accent. “In fact, the incentive to buy a new watch has gone down,” he admits.

According to UK-based mostly Juniper Research, an analyst agency specialising in cellular and digital know-how corporations, Apple dominates the worldwide smartwatch market, accounting for 52 % of all units shipped in 2015, and it’s more likely to dominate this phase for a number of extra years. “Apple has such a large share that it would take a huge decline in sales specifically affecting Apple, rather than the whole smartwatch market, for another player to overtake,” says James Moar, senior analyst at Juniper Research. “Although there are many cheaper brands out there, no one has enough of a market advantage to overtake Apple.”

<<< Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisogono

What Apple did by means of the launch of its smartwatch was not simply create a brand new product, but in addition present shoppers with a brand new product class. Rewind to occasions that unfolded at Baselworld—the watch business’s annual Super Bowl—in 2015. Traditional Swiss watchmakers like Frederique Constant, Breitling and Tag Heuer, amongst others, had all began to embrace related know-how. Breitling got here with the Exospace B55, an aviator watch that had palms in addition to digital show of time, a backlight, notifications for emails, messages, calls and appointments, by way of a Bluetooth sync; Frederique Constant launched its Horological Smartwatch with a constructed-in accelerometer to trace sleep patterns, and strolling and operating actions; Tag Heuer unveiled Connected, in a tie-up with Intel Technology and Google.

Experts seen these launches as aggressive steps to counter the rise of smartwatches and wearable know-how since 2014. Though wearables have been nonetheless not as in style, the essential model of the favored Moto 360 had been launched, alongside different manufacturers such because the LG G Watch R and the Pebble.

The watchmaking business has seen its sequence of disruptive improvements, from the ‘quartz crisis’ of the late 1970s, which largely threatened to switch mechanical watches, to the rise of digital watches from Japanese electronics giants Casio and Seiko (they launched watches with dictionaries, calculators and contact screens) within the 1980s.  

Experimentation elevated within the 1990s with the arrival of the web, and, later, cell phones. Samsung launched the world’s first true smartwatch SPH-WP10 in 1999, with a protruding antenna, a monochrome LCD horizontal display, 90 minutes of speak time with an built-in speaker and a microphone. Though anticipated to be successful with the youth, there’s little readability about its gross sales or success. Commercialisation of the smartwatch occurred solely in 2012, when Pebble Technology Corporation raised over $10 million via a Kickstarter crowd-funding marketing campaign for the event of the Pebble smartwatch, which boasted of a number of apps suitable with most cell phones.

International cellular manufacturers, akin to Motorola, are strengthening their presence within the Android market area. Motorola was the one to introduce the normal spherical dials for smartwatches with its unique Moto 360 in 2014; this was a serious transition from the oblong shapes that Apple, Samsung, Pebble and Sony had for his or her smartwatches.  

Motorola’s newest smartwatch, Moto 360 (2nd Generation) is being marketed as a sensible wearable, however it’s first a watch, with a basic spherical design. “The Moto body feature gives the most holistic health experience by tracking essentials like steps, calories and setting personal goals,” says Rachna Lather, Motorola India’s head of advertising. To enhance utility, the brand new Moto 360 is now the primary Android-based smartwatch that’s suitable with iOS. Motorola has additionally launched smartwatch variants for women, and metallic variations for males. “The market is witnessing a surge in wearable shipments and we are the leaders in the Android smartwatch segment,” provides Lather.

All the innovation that smartwatches witnessed in 2015 had an impression. According to Boston-based unbiased analysis and consultancy agency Strategy Analytics, international smartwatch shipments reached eight.1 million models within the final quarter of 2015, in comparison with 7.9 million Swiss watch shipments. It was the primary time ever that smartwatches had overtaken Swiss watch gross sales on a worldwide foundation.

Baselworld 2016 was extra about Swiss watchmakers returning to their roots with heritage collections and restricted editions, and stronger useful options to woo clients. There have been some fascinating parts to the smartwatch phase too. Frederique Constant launched a brand new model of its Horological Smartwatch, with a world timer, whereas Tissot got here with a photo voltaic-powered smartwatch that appeared to have a small climate station.


Moto 360 (2nd Generation)

As extra producers launched smartwatch variations, designs turned sleeker. Samsung Electronics and glamorous watch and jewelry maker de Grisogono got here collectively to create the Samsung Gear S2, a restricted version luxurious smartwatch launched at Baselworld 2016. “We noticed that the connected watch market lacked a clear feminine watch,” says Fawaz Gruosi, founder and government board director of de Grisogono. “Our brand was founded in 1993 on the principle of daring innovation, and for our first venture into smartwatches, we turned to Samsung due to its excellent reputation as a leader in ground-breaking technological innovation.”

Tissot has the Smart-Touch, with a strong titanium case and ceramic bezel. One can synchronise time zones, verify climate knowledge and air high quality, and use GPS. Fossil has launched the Q Marshal and the Q Wander to its present line of smartwatches; the 2 new watches have touchscreen options, notifications, exercise-monitoring and wi-fi syncing.

Sumit Ghosh, basic supervisor (model retail) of the Fossil Group in India, says India will comply with the worldwide development of utilizing extra wearables. “People are more connected, more health- and fitness-conscious than ever before, and these are very strong drivers of future demand,” he says. The growing availability and velocity of web ought to give an extra increase to the already speedy progress within the penetration of smartphones in India.

It is with this clear development that India’s premier watchmaker Titan launched the nation’s first smartwatch, the Titan JUXT, in 2016, in collaboration with HP. The Titan JUXT is straightforward in performance—it shows notifications of incoming calls, texts, and emails, and has a vibration motor for alarms—in contrast to a wider vary of options that the majority different smartwatches from worldwide manufacturers have.

S Ravi Kant, CEO (watches and equipment), Titan Company, says, “Smartwatches have so far focussed only on technology, and have limited appeal for men who love to wear watches for their design and craftsmanship. We saw an opportunity there. Titan JUXT fulfils the desire for a beautiful watch with meaningful functionality.”


In August 2016, Titan launched its second smartwatch, JUXT Pro

In August 2016, Titan launched its second smartwatch, JUXT Pro, a totally contact-enabled smartphone with choices to customize its watch-face and health options akin to monitoring step counts, distance coated, and lively energy burnt.

Watch producers are assured of quantity progress for the wearables business. “These are early days in terms of design, hardware performance, user interface and app development, so expect a big leap in these areas. And that is what will take growth to the next level,” says Ghosh of Fossil.

Fossil, on the international degree, has stated that it plans to launch at the least 100 wearables by the top of 2016. Apple, this October, launched the newer model of its smartwatch (Series 2), which is waterproof as much as 50 metres, has a quicker twin-core processor, is brighter and has a constructed-in GPS. Most of the opposite smartwatches launched at Baselworld 2016 are anticipated to reach in phases by the top of the yr.

But whilst new fashions are available, demand for smartwatches is detached. According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the entire quantity of smartwatches shipped reached 2.7 million models in Q3FY16 (July to September), down by greater than half from the 5.6 million models shipped within the corresponding quarter of the earlier yr.

However, IDC forecasts that for the complete calendar yr, 20.1 million models of smartwatches can be shipped in 2016, up by three.9 % from the 19.four million models shipped in 2015. By 2019, the ultimate yr of the forecast, complete shipments will attain 88.three million models, leading to a 5-yr CAGR of 42.eight %. Apple will proceed to dominate the market, with an estimated share of 51 % by 2019, the IDC assertion says.

But even whereas the market waits for that subsequent innovation in smartwatches, the newest fashions aren’t providing a lot past what was out there in a primary type across the finish of 2014. This, in accordance with Moar of Juniper Research, will proceed to make smartwatches an elective buy, and subsequently a restricted market. “The general perception of watches being things you keep for the long term and Apple assuming three years of use for the Apple Watch means that we will not see large numbers of repeat buyers coming back to the market in the near term,” he says.

So there could also be no notably disruptive issue within the international smartwatch market. “It’s just that smartwatches are growing more slowly than many expected,” says Moar. “The smartwatch category still needs a reason for consumers to buy their devices, rather than a reason not to buy them.”


(This article is excerpted from the newest ForbesLife India Nov-Dec 2016 situation which is now out there at information stands and e-book shops. You can purchase our pill model from Magzter.com)

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