2019 will be a great year for smartwatches and fitness trackers — here’s why

Smartwatches and fitness trackers have by no means been as cut-and-dry as smartphones as a result of they’re now not for everybody. Not everybody wishes to trace what number of steps they take, and maximum people no doubt don’t want our wrists humming day in and time out.

Looking again on the previous year, a lot has long past on on the earth of wearables.

2018 confirmed us fitness trackers turning into a lot more like smartwatches, and smartwatches getting significantly better at monitoring fitness. Apple remains to be forward within the smartwatch panorama, and Wear OS remains to be affected by the loss of a Google-made Pixel Watch. Read on to determine the place we predict the wearables marketplace is headed in 2019.

Fitness trackers are getting truly just right, even with their obstacles

Fitness trackers have observed the most important enhancements in 2018, no less than in comparison to full-fledged smartwatches. Whether we’re speaking smartwatch options or new sensors, fitness wearables are turning into ever extra succesful, because of this the desire for smartwatches is diminishing. Let me provide an explanation for.

I’m now not pronouncing fitness trackers just like the Fitbit Charge 3 or Garmin Vivosport are higher smartwatches than, smartly, conventional smartwatches, however they are able to get truly shut — equipped you don’t want a ton of third-party apps or a large display.

I may get started recommending fitness trackers over smartwatches to a few other folks.

If all you want in a wearable is get admission to to smartphone notifications or alarms — with the exception of process monitoring, after all — any of the most recent fitness trackers from 2018 will do exactly superb. I hate to stay going again to the Charge 3, however Fitbit did a truly great activity with its current tracker. Not most effective are you able to respond to notifications out of your wrist, you’ll be able to additionally take a look at the elements and purchase issues with Fitbit Pay. Fitbit even plans to carry a selection of third-party apps to the Charge 3, so it’s now not out of the area of chance that we’d see strengthen for facilities like Uber down the road. We must see the primary third-party apps come to the Charge 3 in 2019.

garmin vivosmart 4 review vs garmin vivosport

Garmin Vivosport (left) and Vivosmart 4 (proper)

In 2018 some firms after all put the “we didn’t have room for the ones sensors” excuse to relaxation. Especially with the brand new Vivosmart 4, Garmin’s skinny and gentle fitness tracker packs a sudden quantity of sensors into a small shape issue. We may even commend 2017’s Vivosport, which options a integrated GPS and nonetheless manages to stay smaller and thinner than the contest.

Of route, a large limitation conventional fitness bands are at all times going to run into is dimension. Part of the compromise when opting for a fitness tracker over a larger instrument is you’ll have a extra compact shape issue. I’m now not simply speaking about display dimension — some other folks don’t want a large show on their wrist — however lets get to a level the place Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung, Misfit and others will get started making the “we didn’t have room for the ones sensors” excuse once more.

The extra and extra firms cram into those gadgets, the fewer room there’s for different issues. If such things as SpO2 sensors and attached GPS end up to be fitness tracker staples, firms will must make compromises. Perhaps one tracker will upload the latest-and-greatest well being sensors, however take away a characteristic that’s vital for your way of life.

I don’t assume this will occur in 2019, but it surely’s at all times a chance.

Third-party apps truly do subject

fitbit versa smartwatch

It’s a totally other enjoy the use of a Wear OS watch or Apple Watch in comparison to one thing made by way of Fitbit or Samsung.

For as many enhancements as we’ve observed this year, lots of the more recent smartwatch firms are nonetheless enjoying catch-up to Apple and Google with third-party app strengthen. Everyone needs to present the Apple Watch and Wear OS watches a run for their cash, however Fitbit and Samsung arguably have essentially the most paintings to do. Fitbit simply got here to the smartwatch scene in 2017 with the Ionic, however Samsung has used its proprietary Tizen OS for years. Sure, well-liked apps like Spotify are after all coming to extra platforms, however the state of third-party apps may no doubt be higher.

Third-party apps could make or damage a smartwatch platform. The Apple Watch and Wear OS watches be offering up totally other stories than watches from lesser-known firms. They make the total enjoy really feel a lot more polished and complete.

I am hoping the placement improves within the new year, however I will’t say for certain. App builders don’t appear as enthusiastic about creating for the Fitbits and Samsungs of the sector and stay targeted at the two main gamers.

Wear OS may use some lend a hand from Google

skagen falster 2 review design display oled

Wear OS watches are in a bizarre state at this time. You may disagree with this, however I believe it’s in large part as a result of Google has but to make a Pixel Watch.

Back in 2016, Google confirmed self assurance in its crew by way of retiring the age-old Nexus identify and introducing the Pixel line — smartphones made by way of Google, designed for everybody (learn: iPhone customers). Using a Pixel telephone continues to be other than the use of different telephones. Users have the added convenience of the use of a telephone made by way of the similar corporate that makes Android. It’s great to understand those telephones will proceed to be supported for years, regardless of all their problems.

Google must do the similar factor to Wear OS.

Not launching a first-party Wear OS watch makes me assume Google isn’t as assured in Wear OS as Android. The last item the corporate needs to do is unencumber a watch plagued by way of the similar problems as maximum different Wear OS gadgets, like deficient battery lifestyles and slow efficiency. Until Google reveals longterm, viable answers for the ones problems, I truly don’t assume it will release a watch.

Smartwatches are the one main product class lacking from Google’s Pixel lineup.

For years, Google has mentioned it will proceed to concentrate on making Wear OS the most productive working gadget it may well for third-party watchmakers. That’s comprehensible taking into account Google’s long-held “tool first” mentality, however issues are other now. Google’s Pixel line options smartphones, capsules, laptops, and extra. The most effective factor it’s lacking is a smartwatch.

Maybe that will trade in 2019.

Apple continues to drag forward

Apple Watch Series 4

Frankly, Apple is in a league of its personal with the Apple Watch, in large part because of its industry type. Apple has at all times been a product corporate, not like Google which has historically been a services-first (now not ) corporate. It were given the fundamentals proper from the beginning and persevered to beef up the recipe additional time.

The Apple Watch has at all times been a forged smartphone better half, in addition to a just right fitness and well being tracker. This has allowed Apple to iterate over time, slowly however no doubt launching somewhat stepped forward variations of its watches, very similar to the release cycles we see within the smartphone marketplace.

Without Google making first-party , the Apple Watch goes to proceed to drag forward.

With Google, there’s a disconnect. It can beef up Wear OS all it needs, however watchmakers will at all times be in the back of in introducing options to their watches. We’re nonetheless coping with Wear OS watches launching with out core options like center fee sensors and NFC. It’s ridiculous. On the turn facet, Apple’s long past as far as to introduce a integrated ECG into the Series 4 Apple Watch.

Wearables are a other beast than smartphones. The tool and are extra intertwined, specifically in fitness gadgets. If a corporate — say Garmin or Fitbit — needs to introduce a pulse oximeter, it has to construct strengthen for that into the tool. It’s now not like Fossil (sorry for selecting on you, Fossil) will take the initiative to introduce a new sensor like this to its Wear OS watches when there’s no strengthen for the characteristic within the tool. It simply slows innovation down when the tool and aren’t made below the similar roof.

In 2019 and for the foreseeable long run, Apple will keep forward and make much more feature-packed gadgets. As for Google? Read the former segment.


Now I wish to pay attention from you — what are your wearable predictions for 2019? Sound off within the feedback!