It was pretty obvious Samsung wasn’t thrilled with the reaction to their $300 Galaxy Gear smartwatch, given how they learned from that criticism and remade their line into the more colorful and attractive Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Gear 2. Both using its new Tizen operating system, which is like Android in that it’s a Linux-based SDK for mobiles, but unlike Android in that it’s not Android. For a moment, I considered looking into one of them, provided they actually support more than a just four Samsung devices, and have XL-size watch bands to fit my gorilla-like wrists.
Then, as Athena sprang fully-formed from the head of Zeus, Google walks in and shows how you make a smartwatch. Mic drop and out.
The ad shows a pretty but straightforward OS design, probably an early alpha release with a little digital post-production polishing, but it’s got several things going over the Galaxy/Tizen devices already: the user interface is built to both look good and fit on your wrist. The LG G may have an inane name, but it looks like a mini-Android phone on your wrist and rumors say it’s launching at a competitive (read: low) price point.The Moto 360 not only works with any Android phone running 4.3 or later, it actually looks like a fucking watch. Woah, they cracked the code!
Time will show if they own up to the impressive advertising campaign—given Google’s resources and track record, I’m inclined to think they will—and, more importantly, what kind of smart watch bomb Apple will be dropping come June or September. Apple’s will no doubt fit into their higher price points—premium product, melding fashion and technological design, etc—and I’d bet even money that the premium version eschews colorful iPhone 5c plastic in favor of sculpted aluminium. But a growing smartwach war will only help drive competition and those pricing points, much like how the costs of tablets raced downward towards something affordably reasonable.
And time will only tell if this is the shape of things to come—the internet of things as wearables, be it smartwatch or Google Glass—or a technological dead-end that dies out when the real Next Big Thing hits, as so many gadgets have gone before.