Wearables may not be the next big thing after all.
LG, Lenovo, and Huawei aren't going to release new Android Wear smartwatches in 2016, according to CNET, which seems to imply they are in no hurry to put out new hardware, as consumer demand might not be so demanding.
When Apple introduced the Apple Watch last week, it became clear the company was no longer positioning the wearable as a fashion accessory but rather a fitness device, likely because consumers are more interested in buying fitness bands (cheap ones, specifically). Three out of four wearable devices worn in the US are fitness bands, over half of which are affordable products made by Fitbit.
That statistic comes from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s May 2016 wearable report, while a more recent report from research firm CCS Insight also found that consumers would rather spend their money on inexpensive fitness bands. It's therefore no surprise to hear three of the biggest Android Wear manufacturers have no plans to release pricey smartwatches this year.
Keep in mind these companies usually announce new products at the annual IFA show in Berlin, but none of them did in 2016. We didn't see a third-generation Moto 360, nor did we see a new Huawei Watch. CNET suggested Android Wear partners are reluctant to release new hardware because of a lack of consumer interest and the inability to attract the average consumer.
For instance, Samsung told CNET most smartwatch consumers are male early adopters. Also, the inability to add LTE radios could be hindering manufacturers. While they could technically include LTE radios, they'd be giving up battery life gains, and their Android Wear products would be even more heftier than they already are, which is like going backwards in tech innovation.
Google is expected to unleash Android Wear 2.0 this autumn, so it'll be interesting to see how it launches that update, especially with no new smartwatches coming out to run it. Although Google is rumoured to be developing a Nexus smartwatch, it still doesn't look good that the only new product showcasing the software would be a Google-made product.
It looks like Android Wear partners need some encouragement to innovate.