Wearable devices will take time to pick up in India, say gadget makers

| | Updated on: Mar 10, 2015

Apple smartwatch may give a fillip to the segment

Apple’s ambitious foray into smartwatches may serve as a booster shot for the nascent wearable category in India, industry watchers say.

Though Apple does not cater to the mass market, the common consensus is that smaller competitors will ride on the demand created by the California-based company’s wearable devices.

“We are pretty excited that Apple is venturing into the smartwatch category. Apple always comes with a game changing perspective and this will only help in expanding the market for such devices in countries like India,” said Kartik Iyer, Regional Head, Asia, West Asia and Africa, at Martian Watches, a US-based smartwatch maker that recently launched its ‘Notifier’ line in India through Flipkart.

Apple’s new Watch, which is priced between $349 and $17,000, will go on sale in April. It links to a wearer’s iPhone, and can display messages, alerts and appointments, among other things. It has several apps that can track fitness, arrange a car with Uber, and even open a garage door remotely. The watch respond to voice commands via Apple’s Siri feature

“We had launched Voice command-based watches in 2013. Given that Apple watch will respond to voice commands, talking to one’s wrists will soon become the norm,” said Iyer.

Martian has now decided that all future smartwatches will have inbuilt voice-command capabilities.

Apple has come to dominate the music, smartphone, and tablet markets through innovation and disruption. For instance, the iPhone and iPad have dramatically disrupted the entire telecommunications world by making tablets and ‘smartphones as ‘must have’ devices.

“Apple is good in creating demand for a category which did not exist before. The value proposition that a smartwatch brings to a table is still not clear— its definitely not like a smartphone which has become an essential device for people to have,” said Roberta Cozza, Research Director at Gartner. However, Cozza believes adoption will only take off with the proliferation of sub-$200 watches that are Android-based.

Indian gadget makers seem to be slightly more circumspect in their expectation from the smartwatch category.

Shashin Devsare, Executive Director, Karbonn Mobiles, said: “The adoption of wearable devices in India would be largely dependent on developing relevant and meaningful user cases for consumers at large and making the technology available at a disruptive price point.”

SN Rai, Co-founder and Director, Lava Mobiles, said: “Currently, wearables will need some time before they pick up here in India. There needs to be a value proposition along with the right ecosystem.” Lava will enter the wearable segment with a watch by August this year.

With inputs from Abhishek Law in Kolkata

Published on January 24, 2018

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