There are already enough questions raised by several blogs and individuals about the potential success of the new generation smartwatches. The geek-factor was a serious issue in older generation smartwatches, batteries were not small enough and no one really knew what to do with it. Apple's smartwatch is one of the latest ones in the market and they put a lot of effort in making it look sexy rather than geeky as did Huawei and Asus. A sexy look might not be enough however. Hereunder three reasons why I think the smartwatch will not take off yet.

Wearing Style

The wearing style, wrist mounted, has implications for what you can do with the product, or rather what you can’t do with this product. Reading the time on your watch is an activity that requires muscle-power and thus energy as you need to rotate your arm up and inward towards your line of sight while your forearm needs to pronate almost to its maximum. This will not cause problems for a short amount of time, however for longer periods of interaction like reading rich content or opening multiple apps sequentially this will inevitably create fatigue and you will reach back to your smartphones again.

Not for everyone

Secondly, worldwide only 27% of consumers wear wristwatches on a daily basis or at least a few times a week. Additional features, next to reading time, will certainly boost this number but there will still be a large number of people who will not buy smartwatches because they don’t like to strap something on their wrist. How to reach these people as well?

Lack of content

Another element that should be addressed here is content. Users mostly value rich-content-apps, like Google Maps, YouTube or Facebook, containing pictures, stories, posts, all requiring heavy browsing. This content is not available on nowadays smartwatches or at least not in a way that it enables easy browsing and thus consumers doubt whether notifications and some monitoring is value enough for spending their buck. On top of that, they would have to accept getting thru the content thru a small screen.

As consumers are currently mainly looking for solutions to enable rich content and the smartwatch is not providing that solution as good and as comfortable as smartphones do, consumers stay reluctant buying smartwatches no matter how well designed they are. The lack of monitoring-apps, a potential direction for smartwatches, makes them even more hesitant.


But that doesn’t mean consumers will have to stay reluctant. The amount of monitoring apps will grow as well as the quality of monitoring whether for health or for sport. Next to that, the smartwatch wearing style and form factor make it ideal for instant interaction with several apps without the necessity of taking out the phone, waiting for the full-experience app to load. Think of checking updates from rich content apps like Facebook, getting basic directions while walking or replying to a voice message thru WhatsApp. In that sense, it is plausible to imagine the smartwatch industry will not only redefine itself but as well the smartphone industry in coming years. Smartphones will become more dedicated for longer usage while smartwatches will grow towards dedicated notification and monitoring activities.