Android Wear gadgets are struggling, and it would appear as though that struggle is only going to get worse as the Apple Watch launch gets closer. Canalys, an analytics firm, released figures that suggested that the Android Wear smart-watches on the market in 2014, only account for 15.6 percent of the market and had a lowly 720,000 shipments. At this point, it would appear as though Google’s operating system is not doing very well, as they managed to collect a very small portion of the 4.6 million unit pie in the wearable market. Those numbers might not ordinarily cause too much concern, but with the pending launch of the Apple Watch, analysts and tech enthusiasts agree that the road ahead looks rough for companies who produce Android Wear smart-watches.
The analytic firm found that Motorola, LG, and Samsung, who are partners with Google in the Android Wear landscape, were seriously outperformed by companies like Sony, Pebble and Basis. Perhaps most insulting is the fact that Pebble is nothing more than a start-up which was still receiving crowd funding, not too long ago. While Google does have other partners, and Sony does work with Google on an Android Wear product, they also have been working on developing their own product for the wearable industry. This points to the uncertainty that exists within the Android Wear brand.
The consensus right now is, that if Google cannot compete with small companies, or relatively tiny players in the game, like Pebble for example, who have very few resources to actually compete with a major player like Google, they will have no chance at competing with Apple. Combine this with the fact that excitement over the Apple Watch is soaring, as one research firm found that nearly a quarter of all iPhone 6 and 6 Plus buyers would be most likely to purchase an Apple Watch and Google will really start to feel the shift that is happening.
If that’s not enough, Apple even registered the most-prolific quarter in the history of business, beating out oil companies who otherwise were seen as untouchables when it came to delivering revenue and profits. Apple is planning an April launch for the Apple Watch and for them this is the exact opportunity that they were waiting for. They will be entering a market that is saturated with products that don’t deliver at the high-end expected. While Google has been attempting to make high-end Android Wear devices work, they have not yet delivered. Meanwhile, Apple, who has experience making high-end products sell will enter that market with almost no competition.
The Android Wear struggle comes at a time when the Android to iOS conversion is at a high and user satisfaction, as well as upgrade rates on the OS front show Apple as the absolute favorite right now as the launch their Watch gets closer. Over 70 percent of users are using the latest version of iOS, while under 2 percent of Android devices have even had Android 5.0 Lollipop distributed to them. The gap is wide, and right now for Google, the gap could be getting a lot wider, before it gets any smaller. The smaller companies have proven that wearables have a place in the market, they just haven’t been delivered in a way that makes users comfortable with them in 2014.
By Josh Durso
Photo by Maurizio Pesce – Flickr License