Back in March when the iWatch rumors were spreading like wildfire the CEO of Swatch, Nick Hayek, had a pretty [negative take on the smart watch idea(http://9to5mac.com/2013/03/06/swatch-ceo-on-rumored-iwatch-sounds-a-lot-like-palm-ceo-before-iphone-hit/) during the companies annual results call.
Personally, I don’t believe it’s the next revolution,” the chief of the largest Swiss watchmaker said at a press conference on annual results in Grenchen, Switzerland. “Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can’t have an immense display.
At the time did not pay much attention to this CEO’s claim as I thought he was just another company intrenched in an industry that was in denial of being disrupted. Besides, who said that the a smart watch needs to replace the smart phone.
Today, there are rumors starting to spread that Microsoft is also thinking about a smart watch. This new article brought to light that Microsoft and Swatch teamed up back in 2004 to make a smart watch while Nick Hayek was CEO of Swatch.
With this new context, Nick Hayek’s negative opinion can be chalked up to two things:
- Nick Hayek doesn’t believe in smart watches because his team couldn’t crack the code to mass adoption, which would be very short sighted based smart phone adoption rates today compared to 2004.
- Nick Hayek and the Swatch team are working with their old buddies over at Microsoft.
Either way I think that Nick Hayek’s statement of replacing the smartphone lacks understanding. I think most people would agree that they don’t want a full replacement of their smart phone strapped on their wrist, that would be a user experience nightmare. But a supplemental accessory that would allow users to not dig out their phone every time it rings or dings might be useful to people. Attempting to display emails would be a train wreck, so any smart watch needs to accept it’s form factor and make decisions based on what would be a great user experience. That could mean that the watch can display incoming phone calls, calendar alerts, or reminders because these types of content are usually concise.
While smartphone adoption has increased so has the market for people to wear devices that monitor their health/track their daily activity. I think it is pretty clear that wearable health monitoring has become a market for people that want to be healthy not just individuals that are ill.
Here is a list of the few products that I know about off the top of my head that do just that:
If a company is able to take their time and perfect a smart watch that delivers most of the following features, it may just revolutionize the watch market.
- Provides a great UI for telling time.
- Provides users with a simple interface for seeing what their smart phone is alerting them about.
- Provides sensors for health monitoring/activity tracking.
- Allows 3rd party applications to hook into the activity tracking for ecosystem continuity.
- Provides adequate battery life (5-7 days on a single charge)
- Water proof/resistance
Well, you’ve got to remember, 100 million sounds like a pretty small number to me, actually. We’ve got a lot more Office users. And actually if you even want to go to the cloud, we have a lot of Hotmail and SkyDrive users. I’m not beating on Dropbox. They’re a fine little startup and that’s great.
Steve Ballmer, speaking with Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance on the topic of Dropbox.
Funny because Microsoft also thought that the adoption of their Surface tablet was “fantastic” with less than 1 million sold in a market that sold 52.5 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012.
What kind of company is Microsoft? is it a software company? is it an enterprise solutions company? is it a consumer electronics company? is it a cloud services company?
The biggest problem is that I don’t think Microsoft knows either.