In Shanghai China, there’s a giant digital ad on one of the massive skyscrapers looming over the Huangpu River promoting Samsung’s Galaxy Gear watch. But no amount of splashy marketing can save the poorly-designed, rushed-to-market device.
The Samsung smartwatch debuted to withering reviews (poor design, functionality, battery life) and supposedly is seeing returns north of 30 percent in the US. Google will seek to avoid Samsung’s mistakes as it prepares to go into production on its own smartwatch.
Rumors of a Google smartwatch have been circulating for months but according to the Wall Street Journal the company is now in talks with “Asian suppliers” as it prepares to go into production. It will prominently feature Google Now apparently:
The new device, which will run on Android, will be integrated with Google Now, the company’s intelligent personal assistant that can answer questions, make recommendations and predict what information users need based on what they are doing, a person familiar with the situation said. Google has also been working to reduce power consumption on the smartwatch so it won’t require frequent battery charges, the person said.
If the watch is not yet in production it will miss holiday 2013. Previously it had been reported that Google might launch the product around Halloween. But it’s better for Google to “get it right” than to rush the product to market as Samsung did (to beat Apple) with disastrous results.
Separately Google is planning to introduce Google Glass 2.0 with a second, expanded group of “Glass Explorers.” The smart eyewear will likely go on sale to the public some time in 2014.
There’s considerable consumer interest in a well-designed smartwatch according to a survey I conducted through Opus Research. However there’s less interest or more of a “wait and see” attitude about smart eyewear. The current form and appearance of Google Glass is not “normal” enough to be a mass market product. However design changes could positively affect mass consumer demand.
Apple has also long been rumored to be developing an “iWatch” and CEO Tim Cook made affirmative statements about the future of “wearables” earlier this year in May. Cook implied that Apple is seriously working on wearables — and probably the rumored iWatch.