A Look At Smartwatches In 2017
It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I come in peace. I’m the co-founder of Wareable, a site dedicated to the world of wearable tech and smartwatches. This year was my fourth trip to Baselworld – my third hunting for wearables – and I left a broken man, after a deluge of smartwatches and hybrid devices that announced the arrival of technology into the world of watches. A corner was turned this year, and we got a sign that connected watches are here to stay.
Up to this moment, the smartwatch market has been the preserve of the tech crew. The first modern smartwatches (we’re not talking 1980s Casios or 1990s Microsoft numbers) were from Samsung, LG, and Motorola – tech brands through and through. Add Apple into the mix, and you can see where the market has been – until now.
That ended in 2017. While it wasn’t the first introduction of smartwatches from the luxury watch world – TAG Heuer among others had been dabbling – the deluge of connected watches in the heart of watchmaking country showed that the movement (as it were) has graduated, at least out of its freshman year.
And it’s Google that’s flavor of the month. It’s managed to woo the likes of TAG Heuer, Fossil, Movado, and Guess, who have all opted to jump on board its Android Wear smartwatch operating system project. Android Wear enables users to view notifications, access thousands of apps and receive contextual updates curating information on commutes and calendar appointments with Google Maps traffic data – and has just received a major update.
And this mass influx to Google’s OS has changed the landscape substantially. For the past two years, Apple has ruled the roost with the Apple Watch, while Google has struggled to get traction. But now with the backing of some of the biggest names in luxury watchmaking, we’re backing Google to turn the tables on Apple, and leave the smartwatch market looking a lot more vibrant in 2017.
But it’s not just full smartwatches. Hybrids – analog watches with connected smarts built into the case – are also gaining traction, slotting neatly into the vacuum between consumer interest in wearable features and the desire for classic design. So much so that Michael Kors announced that every one of its men’s watches will soon have a connected variant, alongside the quartz.
To mark this huge change, we’ve compiled a list of notable smartwatches introduced so far in 2017. It’s not complete – the Fossil Group is well on its way to launching 300 smartwatches this year already – but the big watch brands just gave us a glimpse of the future of smartwatches, and it looks uncannily similar to today’s luxury market. So, now with Baselworld behind us and a solid number of smartwatch releases out there, we figured it’s a good time to recap what 2017 has presented so far.