Fitbit and Huawei throw smartwatch segment into confusion

close up of businessman hands with smart watch

Fitbit and Huawei are both of the verge of challenging the status quo of the smartwatch segment, one pushing forward and the other questioning its very existence.

For most, the smartwatch arena has been one of false promises and disappointment to date, but not for Fitbit. Fitbit is a brand which has dominated the fitness space, with a relatively simple but functional device, controlling 23% market share of the basic devices segment, but it seems this effective business isn’t enough. According to Yahoo Finance, the team will soon be releasing a ‘proper’ smartwatch.

While it might be seen as the natural evolution for a brand which has a failsafe in its fitness devices, it might also be viewed as an unnecessary gamble. Fitbit has made a name for itself in a niche and functional market, which is tailor-made for basic wearable devices. The more mainstream or traditional arena for smartwatches hasn’t taken off, and your correspondent is sceptical as to whether Fitbit can change this.

Apple has invested heavily in this area for what seems like little reward. Shipments started off well, but have lumbered along ever since. The reason was relatively simple; the price was too high, and the functionality too limited. Dozens of other brands have all tried to enter the space, all finding the same outcome.

If Apple, a brand with an almost cult-like following of iLifers and a reputation for charging a premium, can’t make the segment work, we’re not too sure why Fitbit thinks it can. Yes, Fitbit has a dedicated following, but these customers use the devices for a very specific reason, and it’s not the day-to-day experience a watch offers. Some may question whether this brand credibility can be taken into another segment, or whether Fitbit’s ‘proper’ smartwatch might as well be a start-up.

Elsewhere, Huawei’s Rotating CEO Eric Xu has pulled out a bit of a no-no, by questioning the very existence of the devices, despite his consumer division releasing its latest smartwatch product at MWC only a matter of weeks ago.

“I am always confused as to what smartwatches are for when we have smartphones,” said Xu at the company’s Global Analyst Summit 2017, according to the South China Morning Post.

Xu highlighted he has never been a person to wear watches, and is confused as to why the segment exists considering everything a person would need is on their phones. The man does have a valid point, but perhaps we might be able to offer a bit of advice; maybe the best time to have posed this question would have been before your company pumped tens of millions into the development of the product…

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