The Tech World is anticipating the release of Samsung’s latest smartwatch at the company’s upcoming event-Samsung Unpacked on August 15th. Thus far, Samsung has released a confused offering of 6 different iterations for it’s Galaxy Gear Smartwatch line. The next version of the watch has been code-named The Orbis because the device will be round and Samsung is betting that “Roundness” will be the killer feature that drives customers to buy into the smartwatch category. There are however, many other features that would be more compelling than the shape of the device.
If Samsung wants to catch-up to the Apple Watch it should at least match the functionality of the Apple Watch which despite being marketed as a fitness device is a remote control for smart devices.
Samsung is a uniquely integrated company that produces products in every category ranging from Televisions, Refrigerators, and Computers to Coffee Makers. Whereas Apple and other smartwatch makers must rely on third parties to develop apps that link smart devices to their respective watches, Samsung can create the smart-home ecosystem internally. If Samsung wants to blow the competition away–it should (but probably won’t) demonstrate a watch that not only serves up notifications and masters mobile payments but also activates the coffee machine downstairs, unlocks doors, turns the lights on and off, streams footage from home security cameras, hosts a truly smart assistant and flaunts an “always on” display that perpetually shows the time. Whereas Apple has had a slow roll out of these features, leaving consumers to stumble upon them and piece them together, Samsung can release them all at once as an integrated whole.
Rumors have suggested that Samsung will offer three versions of the device. If this is true those versions should center around offering consumers a wifi/bluetooth version that extends the functionality of their smartphones (which should not be limited to Samsung Phones) and a standalone version that serves as an independent cell phone with it’s own cellular connection. Some consumers, like myself would relish ditching the 5.5 inch phablets in our pockets.
Lastly, the design of all smartwatches, including Apple’s watch has truly been lacking. Samsung could leapfrog the competition with a great design. The rumors about The Orbis have suggested that Samsung is duplicating Apple’s “Digital Crown” by creating a rotating bezel that will allow users to navigate the device’s operating system. A superior design, served up by the internet via enthusiastic fans extends the company’s Edge-concept to the Smartwatch. The result is a sleek and unique device that could boost battery life by displaying time and notifications on the side of the device without draining battery life to power the entire screen. This would answer a primary complaint of Apple Watch users.
Most of what we have suggested probably won’t be offered by Samsung. The company is unwisely banking on “Round” as a killer feature when functionality should be their focus. Smartwatches remain a tough sell for consumers. Smartwatches are not a “NEED” and changing the shape of the device will not persuade consumers otherwise. Samsung has yet another chance to get it right…….but they probably won’t!