“The wristwear genre isn’t new (recall Microsoft’s 2004 Spot). Ask Google to show you pictures of smartwatches, you get 23M results and screen after screen,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for Monday Note. “The genre seems to be stuck in the novelty state. Newer entries such as Samsung’s Gear have gotten mixed reviews. Others contend a 2010 iPod nano with a wristband makes a much nicer smartwatch.”

“Regardless, by comparison, pre-iPod MP3 players and pre-iPhone smartphones were getting better press – and more customers. Considering the putative iWatch, the excitement about Apple getting into this class of devices appears to be excessive,” Gassée writes. “The litmus test for the potential of a device is the combination of pervasiveness and frequency of use… The iWatch concept makes two assumptions: a) we’ll wear one and, b) we’ll only wear that one. Checking around we see young adults who no longer wear watches — they have a smartphone; and middle-agers use watches as jewelry, possessing more than one. This defeats both pervasiveness and frequency of use requirements.”

Gassée writes, “For a product to start a new worthy species for a company as large as Apple, the currency unit to consider is $10B. Below that level, it’s either an accessory or exists as a member of the ecosystem’s supporting cast… A smartwatch that’s wirelessly linked to my smartphone and shows a subset of the screen in my pocket…I’m not sure this will break out of the novelty category where the devices have been confined thus far. Going back to Tim Cook’s oracular pronouncement on wearables [during the D11 conference this past May] being ‘a very key branch of the tree,’ I wonder: Was he having fun misdirecting his competition?”

Read more in the full article here.

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Samsung announces ‘Galaxy Gear’ watch accessory for Galaxy Android devices – September 4, 2013