Why The Time Is Ripe for Smartwatches – and Why AppDevs Must Make Their Move

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Dear Testdroiders,

We’re few weeks away from Apple Watch launch which surely will be a big thing for Apple but also for the whole mobile technology and wearable ecosystem. There are lots of similar signs of concerns and excitement around newness – the very same we experienced when Android and mass production of smartphones started to take on more than 5 years ago. But like back then, not everyone agreed that the time is ripe for these smartwatches…

mustmakemove

According to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, the time isn’t ripe for smartwatches. The primary reason for this – according to him – is that consumers aren’t ready to make decisions on what features they want. While this may be true for majority of consumers in the short term (=first half of this year) launches like Apple Watch will quickly show the benefits that there gadgets bring to the table – and also the lack of those features that should be in smartwatches. Tech-savvy consumers will be the the early adopters here and will show the direction where these devices will go.

“Right now there is tremendous innovation in [display technology for smartwatches],” said David Singleton, director of engineering for Google’s Android Wear, in a statement to the WSJ. “Next year’s technology will be a step change from last year. And, if you asked me which will dominate in five years, I couldn’t tell you which will.”

Anyhow, the time is definitely right for application developers. Despite of claims that these platforms, software and hardware, introduced in the gadget newcomers will evolve and improve in the next generations, the foundation for building apps, even games and plenty of other stuff is already there – just like it happened with iOS and Android when those were introduced and open to developers. Many of those early developers are today the big names of app scene, doing amazingly well – and those first app developers on wearables will flourish as well.

Platform is Ready for both Android and iOS

There are already plenty of great smartwatches – based on Android Wear and even regular Android stack – and soon there will be first iOS device out as well. Now, building an app for these devices can quickly get that app in front of millions (maybe even tens of millions) of consumers with less competition on app offerings. No doubt you will have a chance for a pole position if you make your move soon.

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The same apps build for early versions of Android and iOS are still (in theory) usable on the latest devices. Many of those successful Android apps have been originally built for Android 1.x versions, grew in popularity during 2.x and are nowadays (era of 4.x and 5.x) used by hundreds of millions of users.

Hardware and Software Will Evolve – But It Won’t Hold Back the App Developers!

Early adopters – consumers – of these emerging gadgets will have a chance to influence how this ecosystem will grow, how those devices will look and what features will be included in the next versions. If they have your apps in their wrists, there is good chance they don’t want to give it up for the next generation of devices. How many Android devices are today pushed out that do not have Twitter, Facebook etc. pre-installed?

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While hardware options will improve and more powerful processors, better displays (and display technologies), new sensors, audio and speech recognition technologies and much more will be introduced, existing applications can be modified accordingly. This is how today’s successful app developers have managed to grow and build new versions of their apps by OS versions, new hardware configurations, bigger display resolutions and so on.

Tight Relation to Smartphone Will Make These Devices More Desirable

If you own a high-end Android device or iPhone, you already have a perfect fit with the same platform smartwatch. As this has been criticized and some people think “Smartwatch-Smartphone” dependency is an actual limitation, acquiring a smartwatch compatible with your smart phone will actually bring you lots of great features that are new to the mobile ecosystem.

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Likely, these platforms will have some sort of better compatibility in time. Today, a PC user might still use an iPad, and someone with a Samsung tablet might still pick a MacBook, so compatibility between variety of gadgets needs to be solved in the near future. Currently, Android users have plenty of options with variety of smartwatches running Android Wear and soon Apple fanboys will have an Apple Watch – but it is still the same for app developers and they will nevertheless build their apps for both platforms – like they do it already today.

Access to Variety of These Devices Exists

As said, Android Wear is available and soon there will be development tools and required development components available for Apple Watch iOS variant as well. Furthermore, you can instantly access variety of different devices at Testdroid Cloud – either manually or through API. We currently host set of the most popular Android smartwatches and Apple Watch will be there as soon as it gets out.

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As more interest in smartwatches rises, we’ll keep adding those in our roster. Surprisingly, many app developers are already showing increased enthusiasm to develop and test on real wearables – and that will equal as a great user experience and robustness on our wrists.

Interested to Test Your Apps on Real Smart Watches? Just ping me (ville-veikko dot helppi at bitbar dot com) or our sales (sales at bitbar dot com) to get access to the top Android Smart Watches out there!


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