Android Wear features enhanced for Apple rivalry


Updates include Wi-Fi support making Android Wear smartwatches truly independent of smartphones, but Apple’s smartwatches predicted to be the best selling smartwatches on the planet

Just before the launch of Apple’s smartwatch range this Friday, Google has announced Android Wear has four major enhancements that will help it better stand up to its rival. The enhancements are always-on apps, Wi-Fi support, the use of emojis for communication, and easier access to news, notifications and contacts.

However, Apple’s range of smartwatches are predicted to be the best selling smartwatches on the planet, and the manufacturer is expected to be making a hefty profit of 60% margin per watch, making Apple’s smartwatches hard to beat.

These Google updates, which are coming to all seven Android Wear watches over the next few weeks, will begin with the new LG Watch Urbane.

Wi-Fi support means that Android Wear watches will not be reliant on a smartphone for an internet connection, making them more independent. With GPS and offline music support, users of Android Wear devices have already been able to leave their phones at home, but now Android Wear supports watches with built-in Wi-Fi. This means that as long as long a watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and the user’s smartphone has a data connection, even if the phone is not nearby, the user will be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all their favourite apps.

Most Android Wear watches already include an always-on screen. Now this is being expanded to apps, so they can stay visible as long as needed, instead of disappearing after use.

Making access to apps and contacts easier, Google has enhanced Android Wear so users can flick their wrist to scroll through their stream of news and notifications. Also, apps and contacts are now just a tap away from the watch face. Users need to just touch the screen, and they will be able to start apps and send messages immediately.

Finally, if the user cannot talk and does not have time to text from their smartwatch, now they can access hundreds of different emojis, directly on the watch screen that can be sent via message or text.

Yet reports state that Apple’s smartwatch range is set to be the best selling smartwatch ever. Research firm, Think Big Academy’s principal, Carl Howe, has predicted the figures on initial Apple smartwatch sales. His model shows that the initial run of watches was more than three million units, which have sold out. He stated that this number will yield Apple Watch revenues of over $2 billion for the first two weeks of sales.

He added in his blog: “While this figure is smaller than first weekend sales of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it dwarfs all other smartwatch sales to date and represents a milestone in wearable sales. The model suggests that while Sport Watch will lead sales in volume, selling 1.8 million units through May 8, Apple Watch will actually lead in revenue during that period, garnering about $900 million versus Sport’s $675 million. I also believe that Apple’s decision to introduce the Edition will be validated by $500 million in sales on only 40,000 units.”

Howe added that he believes Apple’s margin per watch is set to be a massive 60%. He explained: “My belief is that the Apple Watch product line will become Apple’s most profitable product line ever, with gross margins exceeding 60%. Why? Because the core electronics modules in the expensive models are the same ones used in the Sport models, and they just don’t cost that much. And while adding Gold cases and designer bands add cost to the bill of materials, the costs are small compared to the price premiums paid for these products. Unlike in the consumer electronics business, I see no pressure for prices to fall and if anything manufacturing costs will, resulting in a very profitable business.”

Apple watches are so in demand, deliveries will stretch over summer and possibly autumn Apple has confirmed.


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