Samsung Is Readying To Launch A New Smartwatch, But Will It Be Enough To Challenge The Apple Watch?
This year, for the first time, Samsung will be launching a new smartwatch while another wearable device from its fierce rival, Apple, is already out in the market. The South Korean tech giant is expected by many to introduce its new Gear S2 smartwatch this week. Its newest wearable device offering will feature a round screen (its predecessor featured a rectangular watch face) and will run on Tizen, Samsung’s own mobile operating system. The device is Samsung’s seventh smartwatch since 2013.
But will the Gear S2 be enough to challenge the Apple Watch, which has become the most popular wearable device in the planet right now?
At the time Samsung announced its first smartwatch back in September of 2013, there were only a few players present in the wearables market. Basically, people only had to choose between Samsung, Sony, Pebble, and other minor brands. Because it had enough resources to do so, Samsung then launched other new smartwatch offerings in the hope of determining which wearable devices consumers would go for, and in so doing, get a head start on the competition. It worked -- Samsung finished 2014 as the largest seller of smartwatches in the world.
But everything changed when Apple introduced the Apple Watch (the iPhone maker’s first and only wearable device to date). Samsung had enjoyed a 74 percent market share before the Apple Watch hit the market -- as of the second quarter of this year, the South Korean company only managed 7.5 percent. As for the Apple Watch, it holds 76 percent of the total market as of the first quarter after its wide release.
But all is not lost for Samsung yet. Despite being a hit, the Apple Watch has not exactly reached mainstream status yet, which is also true for wearable devices in general. The real opportunity for smartwatch makers, including Samsung, is when mobile users decide that they need to get a smartwatch as much as they do smartphones.
And while the Apple Watch is currently leading the pack right now, Samsung and other smartwatch makers can all learn from it. Apple’s smartwatch may be the most popular among wearable devices today, but it certainly is not perfect. Samsung could determine what works and what does not work with the Apple Watch, and use that knowledge to introduce its own product that could hopefully be a better option in the eyes of consumers.
But again, nothing will matter for Samsung if buyers do not begin to see wearable devices as vital pieces of technology. Until that day comes, Samsung and everybody else will have to bide its time.