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How does the smart watch screen "climb" on our wrists?
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How does the smart watch screen "climb" on our wrists?

  • Time of issue:2021-08-21

How does the smart watch screen "climb" on our wrists?

(Summary description)With the entry of mobile phone giants represented by Samsung and Apple, the second turning point of the smart watch industry has arrived.

The giant mobile phone manufacturers have given the watch the meaning of true intelligence to a certain extent, and their entry has pushed the smart watch from the niche to the masses.

  • Time of issue:2021-08-21
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With the entry of mobile phone giants represented by Samsung and Apple, The second turning point of the smart watch industry has arrived.

The giant mobile phone manufacturers have given the watch a sense of true intelligence to a certain extent, and their entry has pushed smart watches from a niche to the masses.

As the smart watch market is growing and smart phone shipments tend to shrink, seizing the dividend of smart watches has become a breakthrough for most mobile phone manufacturers to seek growth.

“Where we see, there are screens everywhere. A new kind of communication and display technology is arching books aside and pushing images, especially moving images, to the center of culture. We are becoming the people of the screen. ”

This is a sentence from "Inevitable" published by Kevin · Kelly, the godfather of the world Internet four years ago.

Till now, the scene described in the book has become a reality. Looking back in time, the screen has penetrated so deeply into people’s lives, only ten years ago. That's it.

Smartphones have been called people’s second organs, and the popularity of another screen is almost announcing the end of personal private domains in the screen age——smart watches , So that the screen can be in close contact with the skin for 24 hours, and then continuously monitor and output information to the individual.

No one can resist this temptation: now, launching smartwatch/band products has almost become the standard for mobile phone manufacturers. In their grand plan, smart watches are an important part of building an IoT ecosystem. In recent years, Samsung, Apple, as well as major domestic manufacturers such as Huawei, OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi have successively deployed the smart watch field. On the consumer side, smart watches have also climbed onto the wrists of more and more people.

Thanks to the continuous advancement of sensors, algorithms, and chips, smart watches can now monitor heart rate, measure blood oxygen, and calculate steps, becoming more and more versatile It was put into a small box a few square centimeters on the wrist. The competition around this small area is becoming increasingly fierce.

Compared with smart phones, the impact of smart watches on the market and industry appears to be more smooth and silent, but in the increasingly fierce battle for smart hardware, Its status has been gradually elevated.

How did the battle for smart watches start? Where will it go in the future?

Mobile Internet Revolution Watch

About smart watches, Wikipedia’s definition is ——A smartwatch is a wearable computer in the form of a watch——smartwatch is“ A computer wearing a watch coat” has basic or high-level information processing capabilities.

The history of the birth of smart watches in a broad sense is not short.

In 1972, the Hamilton Watch Factory produced an electronic watch called Pulsar. In addition to telling the time, this digital display watch also has simple calculation and timing functions. It is recognized as the first smart watch in the world.

But until the beginning of the 21st century, smart watches could not replace traditional watches. Compared with traditional watches with exquisite design and well-made, smart watches can hardly meet people's needs in terms of material, durability, battery life, diversity of appearance, and inheritance.

In the first decade of the 21st century, the advent of the mobile Internet changed everything.

In 2007, Steve Jobs showed the world the first iPhone at Macworld in San Francisco. As the first smartphone with the "keyboard removed", the iPhone has a large screen The excellent touch experience provided makes people fall in love with the exquisitely designed applications in the system. Seeing the trend, in 2008, Apple decisively launched the iPhone 3G version, and the iPhone 4, released two years later, completely announced the arrival of a new era.

The exploration of smart phones became the theme of those years——In 2009, LG released a limited edition of“smartwatch”GD910, the official Its definition is a candy bar wrist phone. Obviously, this is an exploration of the future of mobile phones, not an innovation of smart watches.

But the mobile Internet era initiated by smart phones has also brought development opportunities for smart watches. Changes have taken place gradually after 2012. Three players have entered this field, namely startups, integrated equipment manufacturers such as LG, and smartphone manufacturers such as Apple and Huawei.

In startups, Fitbit and Pebble are Two companies with more outstanding performance.

Fitbit released its first pedometer in 2012, specializing in sports. This watch can not only record the pace, but also calculate the physical exertion of each person when sitting, walking or running. In 2013, Pebble launched the E-paper smart watch, which can provide sports step counting, music listening and other functions.

Fitbit and Pebble opened the smart watch The prelude to development—In 2014, the shipments of Fitbit watches and Pebble smart watches reached 600,000 and 700,000 units, respectively.

In the face of the “possible future” blue ocean market of smart watches, giant companies such as Sony, Lenovo, and LG, of course, will not stay aloof.

In 2012, Sony released its first smart watch——Sony SmartWatch. This watch is compatible with most iOS and Android devices, and displays Twitter, Facebook, email and other information in real time on the screen.

On January 30, 2014, Lenovo formally acquired Motorola Mobile for US$2.9 billion, obtaining the Motorola brand, smartphone products, and Motorola’s future product plans. On September 5 of the same year, Moto 360 was released, and the sales volume reached 500,000 units that year.

In 2013, LG showed a GPS-integrated smart watch at CES. In the second year, LG and Google jointly developed and designed the LG G Watch release.

Among the participants, Google is the more special one.

Although Google does not produce smart watches, it has become the king of operating systems with the Android system released in 2007. LG had a great advantage in cooperating with Google at the time. Cooperating with Google meant that the watch was specifically optimized for the Android system. It could run Android 4.3 version and support Google’s voice recognition function. The sales volume reached 420,000 units in the same year. . Later, Google also entered the field of smart watches by acquiring Fitbit.

For a time, almost all manufacturers on the market have begun to deploy the smart watch field, and Samsung and other smart phone manufacturers who seem to have the first opportunity can't stand it.

In 2013, Samsung launched its first Gear-type smartwatch, and its sales volume was only 50,000 units in the same year. According to industry analysts, the high price of Gear watches, no special features, and short battery life are important reasons for their sales failures. In 2014, Samsung made a comeback and released Gear 2 and Gear Neo. With a more mature design, its annual sales exceeded 1.2 million units.

With the entry of mobile phone giants represented by Samsung, the second turning point in the smart watch industry has arrived.

How to break through the giant game

During the heyday of the mobile Internet dividend, smart watches have also received widespread attention, but compared with actual shipments, smart watches are in fact still niche&ldquo ;Toys”.

Public data shows that in 2014, global shipments of smart watches were 4.6 million units, a year-on-year increase of 2.7 million units, a growth rate of 142%. Among the 2.7 million units, Samsung accounted for nearly half. Global manufacturers such as Pebble, Fitbit, Sony, Lenovo, and LG only received the remaining 1.5 million units of "cake".

The turning point occurred in 2015. In this year, Apple, which revolutionized the smartphone experience, extended its reach to the field of smart watches.

In 2015, Apple’s Apple Watch was released for the first time, with annual shipments reaching 9 million units. In the same year, global shipments of smart watches were 20.8 million units, a year-on-year increase of 16.2 million units. Among these 16.2 million units, Apple alone accounted for 55.5% of the market.

In 2016, global smartwatch shipments were 21.1 million units, a year-on-year increase of 300,000 units, of which 14 million Apple Watch units were shipped, a year-on-year increase of 5 million units— — Apple not only seized all the increments, but also ate a large part of the original market share of smart watch manufacturers, forcing some smart watch manufacturers to withdraw from the market.

In Apple WatcIn the first year of h's launch, there were reports that Pebble, which once set the record for the most Kickstarter fundraising amount, has quickly become the first victim, and there are even signs of a financial crisis. Judging from the market performance of Apple Watch since then, the first batch of smart watch startups to eat crabs has indeed been hit hard.

The great success of Apple Watch has allowed smart watches to enter the consumer electronics market. It can be said that the giant mobile phone manufacturers have given the watch a sense of true intelligence to a certain extent. They The entry of the smart watch from the niche market to the general public.

The key to the success of mobile phone manufacturers in the smart watch competition lies in the stock of billions of smartphones. Thanks to the smooth connection with the mobile phone, the functions of the smart watch have been greatly expanded.

Under the offensive of mobile phone manufacturers, other smart watch manufacturers have had a hard time: In 2016, Pebble was acquired by Fitbit, ceased operations, and no longer produced any equipment and services. ; On November 2, 2019, Google announced the acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1 billion.

As the smart watch market is growing while smart phone shipments tend to shrink, seizing the dividends of smart watches has become a breakthrough for most mobile phone manufacturers to seek growth . Nowadays, most mobile phone manufacturers will announce new smart watches at the annual flagship mobile phone conference, and most of them have maintained a stable rhythm of annual updates.

In this wave, domestic mobile phone manufacturers are important participants. But from the current point of view, the greater competitive advantage of smart watches and other products of domestic mobile phone manufacturers lies in cost performance, and there is no obvious difference in function and design.

Different from mobile phones, smart watches are not just needed, and their functional design tests the manufacturer’s innovative capabilities. Therefore, if you want to replicate the success of the domestic smart phone industry, singles with low-price brands are not The only medicine. However, it is impossible to achieve a breakthrough simply by relying on the success of smartphones. Samsung’s experience has made the best explanation-Samsung’s first Gear-type smartwatch only sold 50,000 units, which is obviously related to the shipments of mobile phones. Not proportional.

The relatively successful experience of GARMIN and Fitbit may give domestic mobile phone manufacturers new enlightenment. They will be on the global smartwatch shipment list in the first quarter of 2020. , GARMIN shipped 1.1 million units, ranking fourth, and Fitbit shipped 900,000 units, ranking fifth. The two together account for 13.5% of the market share.

Under the pressure of mobile phone giants, the reason for their relative success lies in the technological moat and relatively low prices. The founding team with a military background limited GARMIN to the field of sports and fitness. It has developed different styles of smart watches for various types of sports such as mountaineering, swimming, and running, and has become the first choice for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. After Fitbit was acquired by Google, it has been specifically optimized for the Android system, and it has advantages in battery life and price.

It can be seen that if you want to get a share of the smart watch field, get out of solid design ideas, and make innovations and differences, it’s fundamental to lay a solid technological moat.

Currently, most of this product line of smart watches is developed based on the Android system, and most watches are compatible with different mobile phones. In addition, this year Apple launched the Apple Watch SE and provided a home mode. Users can use Apple Watch even if they don’t have an Apple phone. This will be a key step to change the current smart watch field. Domestic manufacturers have nothing to do with it except with better technology and design.

It is also worth noting that an important reason why Android manufacturers failed in the Pad era is the imperfect software ecosystem. Android manufacturers have not yet perfected the watch application market. This is a shortcoming that needs to be made up urgently, and it is also an opportunity to achieve a breakthrough.

Today, the total shipment volume of Apple, Samsung, and Huawei has exceeded 10 million units. There is a big gap. With the IoT wave brought about by technological innovations such as 5G and chips, the strategic value of smart watches has increased.

In the face of considerable increments and future opportunities, the war on smart watches will only become more intense.

 

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