Motorola’s Moto 360 smartwatch might have emerged as a great Android Wear option, but it looks like the company has no plans to introduce any more smartwatches. According to a report on The Verge, Lenovo-owned Motorola confirmed it won’t launch a smartwatch on Android Wear for 2016, as it doesn’t see enough of a market opportunity.
Smartwatches were once considered as the next big device, that would see sales take off after the smartphone revolution. However, that hasn’t happened with only the Apple Watch managing to rake in some big numbers. Sure the fitness band segment has done well, but smartwatches by themselves have not become a huge market.
Even the Apple Watch Series 2 sales aren’t expected to soar, and Google’s Android Wear 2.0 has been delayed till next year. For the so-called ‘connected’ market, there’s no growth. So it is not surprising when Motorola executives say they don’t see much of a market opportunity. Now the news of Motorola retiring its Moto 360 further confirms the demise of the smartwatch market.
The Verge quotes Shakil Barkat, head of global product development at Moto as saying, “Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year.” Android Wear as a platform has been struggling, and Motorola’s decision to not continue is more bad news for this troubled market.
Overall smartwatches have been facing a year-on-year drop. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide market for smartwatches were fallen to 2.7 million units in Q3 2016, a decrease of 51.6% from the 5.6 million units shipped in Q3 2015. That’s a pretty sharp decline for a market that was once stated to be the next big thing.
Motorola isn’t the only smartwatch market that has backtracked from launching new models. Huawei too hasn’t had a new smartwatch for quite sometime. Its Huawei Watch still remains the only Android Wear smartwatch in the market, and this was launched in 2015.
Samsung has been consistent in smartwatch launches, but these are on its Tizen OS which will take time in convincing app developers. For smartwatches the biggest constraint remains battery and connectivity issues. Most watches don’t have a battery life that will last a week, and this just means another device that the user has to charge. The other issue is the connectivity, because smartwatches need a smartphone to be able to do their basic functions. For users, this is another connected device, that they might not always need.
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