2016 End of the Year: is there a future in wearable electronics?

| January 12, 2017

Following the boom in wearable electronics, which occurred in 2014-2015, followed by alarming news. Demand for smart watches and bracelets began to fall sharply.

Let’s just divide wearable gadgets into two categories: smart watches and fitness trackers. The latter is usually cheaper, but also know how much less, sometimes they do not even have a display. They are designed for people who are interested (or necessary) to monitor their biometrics – the day passed distance and the number of steps, calories burned. Even in the Soviet Union issued pedometers ( “Dawn” series of devices), and the present-day wristbands though more and are able to look much more presentable, but essentially no different from the ancient ancestors.

It is quite another thing – smart watches. In fact it is a mini-computer, a companion for your smartphone, which is always in sight. Incoming messages, news, social networking, answer a call on speakerphone, and a fitness bracelet features – devices are able to much, but are often useless without a smartphone, with whom, and take all the information.

Manufacturers faced a number of problems are expected. Firstly, it is difficult to allocate the smart audience hours, and even more difficult – please each user group. Smartphones are almost all: schoolchildren and students, and the older generation does not shrink, social status and income do not matter – it’s a gadget for all, without it is no longer possible to imagine modern life.

The idea is that with smart clock was going to happen the same thing: all the information right at hand, and even gadget and health monitors. However, the audience took wearable electronics is not particularly warm. Read news from the tiny screens uncomfortable keyboard does not fit on the display, so you need to dictate the answer or choose from ready-made options such as “OK”, “No”, “I will answer later,” and so on. Talk hands-free as possible, but what is the point? It so happened that the information you are getting something, but to respond to it (for example, write a response message), it is still easier and more convenient to use a smartphone.

Then another problem surfaced. In today’s world of watches – is not so much a chronometer as status accessory, and smart gadgets generally not suitable for this role. What is “Electronics”, which Breitling time show the same – but in certain circles brand watches and their prices say a lot about the owner. Manufacturers gadgets want to attract, and this audience: LG in 2015 launched the golden Watch Urban Luxe for $ 1200, while Apple has exposed Watch Edition for crazy $ 10 000. But if high-quality Swiss timepieces could serve for decades, any gadgets hopelessly obsolete in just a few years. So smart watch, even with the precious body – definitely not the kind of thing that can make a family heirloom, bequeath, or in extreme cases to sell in the hope to correct financial position. No brand strength and touching story about how three hundred years ago in the Swiss village of father and son gathered their first hours, which are now sold at the price of a good car. Therefore, even Apple silently admitted defeat and left the market exclusive things. The updated model Series 2 Edition version is now made of ceramic and is worth about 120 thousand rubles – too expensive, but not comparable with the previous $ 10,000.

So, wearable electronics is that it can not win the audience and offer features, without which it would be impossible to do. This is an interesting addition to a smartphone, but not vital purchase. Or are we mistaken? The figures show that there is. Sales of wearable electronics in 2016 seriously reduced. In the summer, IDC published a curious statistics: Apple’s share in the smart watch market decreased from 72% (5.1 million units sold) right up to 47% (3.5 million sold gadgets) – data for the second quarter of 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Other manufacturers have slightly improved performance: Samsung increased its share from 7 to 16%, Lenovo – from 3 to 9%, and LG – from 4 to 8%. The statistics Apple spoiled due to the high popularity of its watches. However, in the third quarter, the trend continued in 2015 in the stores shipped 5.6 million hours, and this year – only 2.7 million. Lenovo announced in December that it is not necessary to wait for a new model of Moto 360, since segment wearable does not enjoy sufficient demand. It seems wearable electronics – at least smart watches, bracelets are not – at an impasse.

But burying wearable gadgets until we are, and generally have enough pessimism. Let us recall the interesting trends in 2016.

Apple’s Watch Series 2

Contrary to the established tradition, Apple has released no new model, and the restyling of the first, and in the same housing. Owners of the original version of hours not mad, because apparently their gadget still seems relevant, and buyers Series 2 get some nice chips. For example, the device appeared GPS-module – you can go for a run without a smartphone, the clock will still consider the distance traveled. The information is then synchronized with the iPhone. Another innovation – from water protection. She had been present, but in a rudimentary form: Apple Watch was held a half-hour dive to a depth meter. The pool was better not to swim with them. Now, this is no problem: you can dive up to 50 meters. After water procedures speaker special design literally pushes the droplets. The device has a new processor with two cores S2.

At the same time the company introduced the Series 1 – intermediate between the original model and the Series 2. It has a dual-core processor S1P, no GPS and serious moisture protection. All versions work about a day on a single battery charge. Both models are available in the size of the housings 38 and 42 mm. Presented three lines: with housings made of aluminum, stainless steel and ceramics.

Garmin Vivoactive

The Garmin, as you know, is specialized in the navigators, but also the smart watch market does not forget. A novelty in 2016 was the model Vivoactive HR. The device purely masculine, submit it to a female hand is impossible, but manufacturers often try to produce unisex gadgets. Vivoactive HR can count steps, heart rate and report on new notifications, works with Android and iOS. An interesting choice of screen technology – transreflective, ie an image seen by reflected light. In the dark, the backlight helps. With this solution, the screen is always active, and the charge is consumed slowly.

In addition to the almost complete absence of interchangeable straps to the downside is attributed exercises. The battery is not compensated through a wireless adapter or even a microUSB, and through a special connector – so try to find another, if necessary.

Samsung Gear S3

The latest model of the Samsung smart watches, presented at the September IFA 2016 exhibition. There are two options: Frontier brutal and more elegant Classic. Originally implemented navigation. If Apple took the puck from classic watches and adapted Digital Crown under the scroll, the Samsung inspired another element of conventional “boilers” – bezel. This ring with marking, which is located around the glass.

It is used to control Gear S3, and it was surprisingly comfortable. hardware buttons are also present. The touch screen is made by technology AMOLED that provides excellent brightness in any environment. The model has a GPS-module, motion sensor, heart rate monitor – everything is ready for your workouts.

The clock operates on Samsung Tizen, but not Android Wear – the system is stable and comfortable, although on the operating system from Google seems no one complains. A big plus Gear S3 – time work. The device can withstand up to four days of moderate use, in reality, with the included display Always On mode will provide 2-3 days.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

Popular model bracelet has experienced this year a major upgrade. At Mi Band 2 appeared a small display, the button and the updated hardware and increased battery capacity. Model 2016 accurately track traffic to trick her, waving a hand, are unlikely to succeed. In addition, the novelty has learned to measure the pulse. The device includes a screen with a little twist of the wrist, much like Apple Watch.

With its low price Xiaomi Mi Band once won great popularity, and the second generation is also probably a good future. The bracelet works with Android and iOS.

Meizu H1 Smartband

Meizu unveiled Xiaomi Mi Band 2 competitors at the end of autumn 2016. Opportunity device is no different from his opponent. H1 Smartband can count pulse and the steps following the sleep phases and warn you of incoming calls or messages. There is a small display, which displays the desired information. Design standard for smart gadgets: a body in the form of a capsule placed in a rubber bracelet.


While disappointing outcome – wearable electronics remains a niche category of devices. With its low price fitness bracelets next year will feel confident they cope well with the registration of your activity, without trying to replace the classic watch and not so dependent on the smartphone. Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S3 and other models, by contrast, offer everything at once, but not many people are willing to abandon the usual hours, which do not need to charge every two days. In 2017, we do see a new generation of watches Apple, Samsung Gear S5 (four in Samsung index traditionally skip), as well as new desperate attempts to Huawei, ASUS and, Google may itself.


Category: Gadgets, Technology

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