Will Ap­ple Watch be able to fi­nally knock out Sam­sung?

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS - BY KIM YOUNG- WON

The smart watch hype is at its peak as two of the world’s largest tech gi­ants and archri­vals — Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics and Ap­ple — step up their ef­forts to gain the up­per­hand in a new round in a battle for the wrist.

The first wear­able de­vice by Cu­per­tino- based Ap­ple landed in stores in nine global mar­kets in­clud­ing the U.S., Australia, and Hong Kong on Fri­day.

Even though South Korea was not in­cluded in the first group of the launch na­tions, the news of the Ap­ple smart watch made head­lines on many lo­cal news out­lets over the week­end, re­flect­ing a sig­nif­i­cant level of in­ter­est to­ward the wear­able de­vice in Korea.

Sam­sung pried open the doors to the smart watch in­dus­try with the first Galaxy Gear in 2013, and rolled out six more en­hanced ver­sions since then in­clud­ing the Sam­sung Gear 2, and Gear Solo, a stand­alone de­vice that al­lows users to make calls with­out pair­ing with a smart­phone.

Up­ping the ante against its ri­val Ap­ple, Sam­sung an­nounced on the same day of the Ap­ple Watch launch that its new wear­able de­vice was be­ing un­veiled, re­leas­ing sev­eral teaser images of the new Gear smart watch on the firm’s of­fi­cial blog.

In the blog post, the Seoul­based tech gi­ant hinted at di­verse ser­vices that would be avail­able on the up­com­ing dig­i­tal watch by an­nounc­ing its part­ner­ship with main­land China’s search en­gine firm Baidu, Yelp, a restau­rant finder app op­er­a­tor, and U.S. news net­work CNN.

Sam­sung, which shipped 1.2 mil­lion units of the Gear lineup last year, has taken the lead in the world’s smart watch mar­ket, fol­lowed by other mar­ket play­ers in­clud­ing Pebble, Fit­bit, and Sony, ac­cord­ing to re­search in­sti­tute Smart­watch Group.

Some mar­ket an­a­lysts an­tic­i­pated the com­pe­ti­tion among tech com­pa­nies to gain the lion’s share in the smart watch mar­ket would get much fiercer this year.

Re­search in­sti­tute Strat­egy An­a­lyt­ics fore­cast to­tal global smart watch ship­ments to grow 511 per­cent from 4.6 mil­lion units in 2014 to 28.1 mil­lion units in 2015, with the Ap­ple Watch ship­ping 15.4 mil­lion units world­wide this year, re­plac­ing the cur­rent No. 1 post held by Sam­sung.

Some, how­ever, cast doubt over the Ap­ple Watch, say­ing the dig­i­tal watch lacks the wow fac­tor that could help out­shine other prod­ucts by Sam­sung or LG Elec­tron­ics.

LG re­cently launched the world’s first Long-Term Evo­lu­tion-sup­port Watch Ur­bane, sport­ing the in­dus­try’s largest bat­tery ca­pac­ity and the first round-face dis­play.

“With­out many ap­peal­ing fac­tors, the Ap­ple Watch will likely be­come just one of many or­di­nary smart watches,” said a mar­ket watcher who wished to re­main anony­mous, adding that Ap­ple’s first smart watch, how­ever, suc­ceeded in drawing at­ten­tion to the wear­able de­vices.

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