The timid success of devices like Pebble, Sony Smartwatch 2or-for many, including our Antonio Ortiz-disappointing Samsung Galaxy Gear does not seem to have discouraged other manufacturers and even entrepreneurs from launching a bet on the segment of Smart watches.
Simon Tian is a young man of only 19 years who is convinced of the success of his product. It already has its own company, called Neptune, and has created its own smartphone, which it has christened Pine. This device isespecially ambitious , but… will it shine there where others have failed to do so?
More smartphone than smart watch
The Pine is a “clock” in all aspects. The first, of course, its size: while other developments try to be measured in its dimensions, the Pine reveals its diagonal 2.6 inches (6.6 cm), which will easily become the target of many looks.
That size is justified by the combination of hardware that its creator has wanted to offer in this small ingenuity, and that are those of a mid-range smartphone. We have a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.2GHz processor, support for 2G and 3G networks (we can make and receive calls directly from the clock), up to 32GB of storage capacity and WiFi 802.11b/g/no connectivity Bluetooth.
To this must be added the micro-SIM slot, A-GPS receiver, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, speaker, microphone, 5-megapixel rear camera and front VGA camera. In addition we have a rechargeable battery of 810 mAh that according to its responsible offers up to 7 hours of web navigation and 6 hours of 3G conversation.The IP67 water resistance certification is ongoing, and control of all those options is done via Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
The Pine problem is clear: its screen, which despite having a resolution of 320x240pixels-decently for that diagonal – makes it practically impossible to handle things like the on-screen keyboard – or the Android interface itself – with some ease. The mere two and a half inches force the virtual keyboard keys to be tiny, and other interface elements are also very difficult to access.
The limitation does not appear to have frightened investors in the Kickstarter collective financing campaign. At the time of writing this article and with 26 days to follow that initial collection, the project takes more than $ 334,000 raised andtriples the initial target of 100,000 that Tian had set to achieve.
The running watch, starting at $ 229 for early investors, is breaking records by Tucsonsmartwatches, but we already saw a similar phenomenon when Pebble, the smart clock that recently revamped its software but which nevertheless does not seem to have curdled like many They thought
The wise men will not bring smart watches
Probably young Simon Tian has not read the latest Gartner report. Or if it has, it has not mattered too much, because the data of the consultancy seems to reveal that for now the market for smart watches will remain relatively modest.
In fact, Gartner makes clear that these devices are still expensive and consumers do not just appreciate the value proposition they offer compared to other devices such as tablets or other solutions belonging to the category wearable computing as the bracelets that monitor our physical activity . Annette Zimmermann, an analyst at Gartner, made that clear:
Samsung and other well-known manufacturers have recently entered the smart watch segment, but the products we have seen so far have been uninspiring in terms of design, applications and features.
The Gartner report is especially curious especially considering that some companies want to defend the opposite. This is the case of Samsung, who recently indicated that they had already distributed (not to be confused with “sold”) 800,000 units of their Galaxy Gear in two months. It is also curious that one of the directors of this company-David Eun, director of Samsung’s Open Innovation Center-said how even he probably would not have bought it initially. Then, yes, complete his reasoning: ” However, he has been convincing me… and I can see where this is headed.”
Gartner believes that the design of these devices is a problem, and that normal consumers-not those who adopt these solutions early-especially value the finishof these smart watches.
Users expect more than just the convenience of a new category of product that aims to be innovative and priced between $ 200 and $ 300. The same price is used to buy tablets with a good set of features.
It does not look like Christmas 2013 will be a particularly lavish time in smart watches as gifts from their majesties the wise men (or Santa Claus, who will also have a lot of work). However, manufacturers do not give up. Pine is an example, and persistent rumors about Apple and Google products in this market are likely to make the segment much more interesting in 2014.