With the recent release of our first application for Pebble smartwatch we started to think if our clients and their mobile projects will benefit from the creation of a smartwatch app. What is the possible value for the business as well as for the users? What is the potential return on investments?
So, in what cases should you, as a product owner or mobile entrepreneur, invest your time and money into a smartwatch app in addition to your existing iOS or Android applications?
1. You seek to reach tech-savvy users
If your product is in an early stage you might be interested in tapping into an early adopters audience who are eager to try new things and could provide you with some valuable initial feedback. The audience for Smartwatches is just like that. This is still a gadget for geeks and tech-savvy users.
Don’t develop a smartwatch app if you seek to grow your mobile app user base.
2. You want to generate buzz around your product
The Internet is full of articles like “30 must-have Pebble apps, watchfaces, and games for your wrist”, “The best Pebble smartwatch apps”, “The best Android apps for your Pebble” etc. So if you manage to create something really interesting and useful – do not hesitate to reach out to the press with your pitch. Additionally, news about a Pebble app release could wake up some of your non-active users who have stopped using your mobile app for some reason or other.
3. You want to improve user experience
In some cases a smartwatch app could be more convenient than a mobile app. For example RunKeeper and Endomondo Pebble apps provide you with the convenient start/stop options right from your wrist; when you shake the watch Yelp picks one random random place nearby; with GoPro’s latest Wi-Fi enabled action-cameras you’ll be able to stop and start recordings from the watch.
So if you have a great idea and a budget to implement it — why do not win a bit more love from your users?
4. You are thinking in 3-5 years terms
If this is the case for you then consider a smartwatch app as an investment for your future growth. Wearable tech feels like the mobile market about five years ago. So if you create your first app now and start to experiment with it then by the time smartwatches become a mass-market you will have a solid and usable product.
There are no doubts it will become a mass product in a future. Samsung and Pebble are the two manufacturers that have dominated the US smartwatch market since October 2013 – the Samsung Gear family accounting for 78% of the total $96 million revenue, and Pebble 18%.
Other major manufacturers have already stepped into this market too – Sony, LG, Motorola; now Google is officially getting into wearables with its Android Wear and everybody is expecting an aggressive move from Apple. The smartwatches’ market accroding to different souces will vary from 45 to 300 mlns devices in the next 3-5 years.