The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is in full swing! Here at Argus Insights, we have boots on the ground and eyes on all the virtual conversations! Sign up below to receive free daily updates that will keep you informed of who and what is leading Smart Home discussion at CES 2016.
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Google just announced some major updates to its Android Wear operating system, including the ability to tether to your Android handset over wifi instead of bluetooth, some new wrist gestures guaranteed to put you on TSA’s watch list, and a redesign of the way that apps are accessed and used, including a feature that let’s apps keep the screen on by default, something great for runners, especially for distances less than a mile given the battery life impact. All-in-all it looks more like a collection of technology “coulds” rather than any coherent view of what you “should” use Android Wear to augment your life in compelling ways.
The shift in app navigation at least acknowledges a complaint we’ve seen surface over and over again with consumers. Something I referred to at my keynote at Wearables Techcon as the “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” problem: the incessant need to swipe your way to the app/feature/photo you want ensures endless hours of pawing at your wrist like a dog begging to be let out.
There has to be a better way to navigate wearable devices…
Apple would have us ignore the last 8 years of training that a light touch on your iPhone was enough to control the known universe, and instead has introduced ForceTap on the Apple Watch. Apple has improved upon the one dimension of Android Wear’s Row Row Row your way through screens and instead would have us scrub through a constellation of application icons, the only way to activate one is by ensuring the desired app is in the center and then executing that new party trick, a Force Tap. The light taps so cleverly used on our touchscreens and touchpads alike ensure the object of desire is obscured only for an instant while you get along with your life. ForceTap requires you to add an extra step with a grunt for flourish as you dwell over the very thing you want to see. Sure, ForceTap promises to virtually eliminate the accidental activation that kept you from three stars on level 97 on Angry Birds Star Wars, but it is the equivalent of telling the Google Car to drive where you can’t see.
We’ve seen some technology that points towards a future where wearables react to our intent rather than continued pawing in one or two dimensions on the surface. It’s coming, soon, but I can’t reveal it just yet.
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Swatch, a long time veteran of watch manufacturing, plans to compete with the Apple Watch by introducing a completely different type of smartwatch. Swatch plans to use Near Field Technology to enable users to make contactless mobile payments, but consumers should not expect “a mini mobile phone” for their wrist. Swatch will focus on individual tech features in specific models, to avoid encroaching on the product concept explored by so many smartphone manufacturers, like Samsung, Sony, and now Apple. Swatch announced this watch in the midst of Apple Watch fever, and managed to steal some social mindshare from some big wearables players that they consider to be their competition.
The lack of extraneous features on Swatch’s smartwatch will set it apart. They seem to be taking a page out of Pebble’s playbook as they focus not on accommodating every possible use case, but on optimizing proposed usage for a wrist worn device. With this shift in focus comes more limited, but tailored, features and the ever important, yet seemingly elusive, longer battery life. With a lower price point, long battery life, and capabilities, Swatch is looking to present a no frills, streamlined payment solution.
While Swatch’s smartwatch may be lacking the allure and prestige of the Apple Watch, it prevails in its esteemed focus and lack of patience for anything unnecessary. Consumers consistently complain about the usability of current smartwatches, and Swatch’s no-nonsense approach may be a giant leap toward closing that gap in user experience.
Argus Insights is constantly tracking consumer feedback in the Wearables, and several other, markets. Please contact us with any questions or to inquire about data access, custom & monthly reporting.
Argus Insights has been tracking all social conversation about Mobile World Congress, and is ready to reveal some of the most popular brands of the show. Our winners secured the most mindshare in their category, prompting continued engagement and conversation.
And the winner is…
With cloud related announcements ranging from an Industrial Cloud partnership with Intel to a Connected Traffic Cloud to introducing a Volvo cloud platform, Ericsson gave MWC followers a lot to talk about
HP was driving interest in NFV through their proof of concept with Orange, OpenNFV partnership with Telefonica, and targeted comments from their CEO about improving infrastructure with virtualization.
Though the smartphone giant was not actually present at the show, Apple dominated mindshare and the iPhone 6 was awarded ‘Best Mobile of the Year’ along with the LG G3
Huawei got people talking with the early announcement of the round, Android Wear enabled Huawei Watch.
For more details about why and how these brands won mindshare during the show, and an outline of overall trends plus winners and losers in several more categories, request a copy of our Mobile World Congress 2015 Report. Typically a $3,000 value, we are offering this report to our readers for free.
Gone are the days of fighting over the television remote. Now, you use your giant smartphone to keep up on emails while watching House of Cards on your tablet as your kids enjoy their own cartoons on Netflix or entertain themselves playing Temple Run on their own devices. The use of personal electronics for content consumption has taken off, and users are migrating away from large, communal televisions and small smartphones toward the happy middle ground of phablets and tablets to entertain themselves.
Large screens brought large mindshare for Apple smartphones and tablets
In the midst of this large screen, small device trend, Apple has stalled the production of their new iPad to produce a larger device. Their iPad sales have been suffering, and they plan to target the cooperate market with these larger devices. A 12.9 inch screen and alleged plans to add USB ports and an optional attachable mouse and/or keyboard are blurring the lines between tablet and laptop. A similar phenomenon occurred when Apple released the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets. Sales of the big smartphones have “been cannibalizing…iPad sales.” Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has been quoted to say that this is a good problem to have, as the company is merely making competition for itself. 
Small & large Apple tablets see more consumer feedback than Samsung’s Pro Tab line
Apple smartphones are competing with Apple tablets, while those same tablets have the potential to compete with Apple laptops, but consumers are far more interested in Apple tablets than those made by Samsung. Big or small, Apple’s devices see more consumer reviews.
Although they are outshining the competition, Apple must compete with themselves as growing screen sizes shift usage expectations. With the introduction of their larger, more cooperate focused tablets, Apple is beginning a targeted, niche enterprise in which iPad users can easily crunch numbers on a spreadsheet and compose documents, or watch Netflix and play games.
Argus Insights will continue to track consumer engagement in the tablet and smartphone markets. Check back to hear more about the progression of user experience as it pertains to screen size and to follow the launch of new products. We monitor various consumer electronics markets as well as B2B infrastructure conversation. Please contact us with any questions or business inquiries.
Interested in who & what won mindshare during Mobile World Congress? Request a free copy of our Post MWC Report.