2017 TECH IN REVIEW: Wearables

Smartwatches with fitness features a hit

Samsung showcasing its Gear Sport smartwatch at an August press conference in Berlin.
Samsung showcasing its Gear Sport smartwatch at an August press conference in Berlin.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

What went down in 2017:

This year, with the Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch operating system seemingly stalling, many gadget makers have decided against releasing a new smartwatch.

It was left to Apple to grab most of the pie with its third-generation Apple Watch Series 3 that was launched in September.

Apple's market share in the third quarter of this year grew by 52.4 per cent, compared with the same period last year, according to research firm IDC.

Traditionally, it is the so-called basic wearables like the fitness trackers by Fitbit and Xiaomi that have dominated the wearables market. However, more consumers are opting for multi-purpose wearables, like smartwatches from Apple and Samsung, over basic wearables, according to IDC.

The convergence of the smartwatch and fitness tracker has been happening for a while, as both Apple and Samsung repeatedly touted fitness features in their new smartwatches.

This year also saw luxury and fashion brands hopping onto the smartwatch bandwagon. Louis Vuitton launched its first smartwatch, the Tambour Horizon, while Montblanc released its Summit smartwatch.

What to look out for in 2018:

I think the smartwatch trends seen this year will continue next year. Expect to see more convergence between the smartwatch and fitness tracker.

With smartwatches getting better features like built-in GPS and swim tracking, it makes no sense for consumers to get a basic fitness tracker, especially when you can wear one device instead of two.

Hopefully, we will see more wow-worthy smartwatches next year, not only from the tech giants like Apple, Samsung and LG, but also from more fashion brands, as well as traditional watch brands such as Casio and Seiko.

Trevor Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'Smartwatches with fitness features a hit '. Print Edition | Subscribe