Smart Watch Manufacturers Seek Niche

Photo courtesy of Maurizio Pesce, Flickr

Smart watches are progressively adding more features and becoming more advanced. It is now a matter of if they appeal to the public enough for people to buy them.

Pebble Time is the only smart watch manufacturer that solely relies on Kickstarter backers to fund their watches. Apple Inc., one of their many competitors, will soon be releasing their own smart watch at the end of April. However, everyone will not easily be persuaded to convert from the traditional mechanical, automatic and digital watches.

The current smart watches out on the market have different features, all depending on the manufacturer that creates them. Every major technological company is creating their own smart watch, like Samsung, Sony and Apple, to mention a few. Some smart watches only consist of fitness-based features, and give you alerts of text messages or phone calls. However, there are smart watches that have applications that you can you use to access media, such as ESPN.

Pebble Time won Editor’s Choice in PC Mag for their Pebble Steel smart watch. They’re not amateurs in the smart watch industry. Pebble Time strives for high-end features and simplicity in their design. According to TechCrunch, “Pebble went back to crowdfunding site Kickstarer to help fund the Pebble Time, its second major hardware iteration.” The Kickstarter campaign funded Pebble time with over $20 million dollars from almost 79,000 backers to help forge their newest smart watch.

“In a couple years smart watches will really catch on," said Rob Fritz, a senior. "There aren’t too many features. It just links to the phone and is limited; it’s more of a luxury item.”

The Samsung Gear S smart watch is currently on the market. Although, you have to already have a Samsung smart phone to link to the watch in order to use it. The Gear S also has a service charge for its calling and texting features. One of the top-selling smart watches, according to TechRadar, is the LG G Watch R "because it has high resolution with a P-OLED screen that is easier on the eyes.”  LG is asking $300 for it, but does not require a user to link it to their phone.

“I think that smart watches aren’t worth the money. It doesn’t beat the traditional watches," Ken Pomaski, a junior, said. "Once your smart watch runs out of battery, you have your smart phone to look at for the time. It’s just a contradiction to own one if you have a smart phone already.”

The future of smart watches will be ultimately be decided by the consumer interest. It is expanding progressively, rather than slowing down, being that big-name manufacturers are creating their own versions. The Apple smart watch will be released April 24, but at a hefty starting price of $549.

According to Tech Crunch, “Pebble has to deliver 48,690 Pebble Time watches by May of this year to hit its estimated shipping goals for the inaugural batch based on stated backer rewards.”

Smart watches do not seem to be slowing down in popularity and will continue to be manufactured as long as there are willing buyers.