Every week the Opus team picks a news story or topic or idea that is relevant to the entrepreneurs and businesses we partner with.

RSS Feed

Archives

Smartwatches are here!

Ajit Deshpande - - 0 Comments

Last week was a busy week for the smartwatch segment. No less than three large corporate entities announced the launch of their individual smartwatches: Samsung (Galaxy Gear), Qualcomm (Toq) and Sony (Smartwatch 2, a sequel to their first version that was launched last year). The Galaxy Gear and the Toq are both priced at $300, whereas the Smartwatch 2 at $200 is closer to the prices of existing smartwatches such as Pebble and Basis ($150 each). Quick feature review: the Samsung Galaxy Gear has a 1.9 MP camera, a speaker/mic, has a 24 hour battery life, and can connect with other Galaxy devices. Neither the Qualcomm Toq and the Sony Smartwatch 2 have a camera or a speaker or a mic, but both have more than 3 days of battery life, and both can connect with Android devices with recent firmware versions. Qualcomm Toq uses its own Mirasol Display.

Smartwatches have in recent times been a polarizing topic for the tech world. We are still in the early adoption phase – while almost 300,000 Pebble watches have been sold so far, the first units were shipped just a few months ago. At the mass-scale, success of the smartwatch would depend on whether it can become its own consumer electronics category, and at a price of $300, that seems unlikely. Beyond being a wrist-watch replacement, the smartwatch is still just an advanced wellness device; features like mics and speakers might be useful but are not sufficient to preclude the need for a smartphone. The high price point will thus make it difficult for a user to justify the purchase of one more mobile gadget, especially given the expectation of rapid evolution in feature-sets and form-factors. Now, if this device were priced in the $100-150 range, the story could be different…

Last week’s news indicate just how low the barrier to entry in the connected device arena is, the upshot being rapid fragmentation in the market. Given this, the best chance at building a successful business in this space might go to the arms dealers – chipset players such as Qualcomm, ARM as well as Opus portfolio company GainSpan, operating systems such as Android, and the contract manufacturers for the devices. For everyone else, it’s a free for all, all while the market decides for itself!

« Back to Blog
Also on the Opus Blog

Have small cells finally arrived?

February 27, 2014
Ajit Deshpande - Last week saw a couple announcements about carrier giants AT&T and Verizon rolling out small cells in a few locations in the United States. AT&T announced that it had...

Outlook.com is off to the races!

August 5, 2012
Ajit Deshpande - On July 31st, Microsoft unveiled its new cloud-based email service, Outlook.com, complete with a simple and clean UI and featuring integration with its own SkyDrive as well as with...

The rise of bitcoins

April 16, 2013
Ajit Deshpande - Bitcoin, the online, decentralized commodity introduced by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, had its most volatile trading day and week last week. The currency rose to more...

Foursquare takes on Yelp

November 12, 2012
Ajit Deshpande - Last week, Foursquare introduced a new version of its mobile app that now includes a key new rating feature. Using data from its ~25M mobile app users and ~3 billion check-ins...