Pebble says that Samsung and Apple “overthink” the smartwatch concept
In techland, you can always tell when companies are in competition with each other. US carriers T-Mobile and AT&T have had their smearing campaigns, and even HTC decided recently to criticize an Android manufacturer while applauding its largest rival. Some would say that statements like these are nothing more than an attempt to throw metaphorical “fists” at the competition. In other words, when you can’t beat a company, you simply criticize it.
Pebble is a smartwatch maker whose smartwatches have made a statement in the new niche sector, with 700,000 smartwatches sold in 2014. Of course, this doesn’t even come close to Samsung’s 1.2 million smartwatches sold last year – which means that Samsung now leads the pack by 500,000 smartwatches. And that doesn’t count the 3 months of 2015.
The Apple Watch has produced a lot of responses around the Web since Apple unveiled its latest gadget earlier this week. Pebble, as is typical of rival manufacturers, decided to do a little mudslinging. “I think they [Apple and Samsung] overthink what people are going to do with them. We don’t lose sight that it’s a watch. It’s not a phone. It’s not a gadget. It’s a watch and time is what matters to people,” said Pebble spokesperson Monica Isla.
Isla seems sold on the watch concept, but watches and smartwatches are not the same. For those who want a watch that tells time only, there are numerous watches out there (some less than $100) that provide this basic function. Pebble seems to forget that it has entered the category of smart watches. Smart watches are distinct from regular watches because of the “smart” designation.
This is no different than the distinction made between flip phones (or “dumbphones,” as they’re comically called) and “smart” phones. While “dumbphones” do basic things like make calls and send texts, smartphones feature web browsers, cameras, camera modes, and allow you to download apps that only increase the functionality of your device. There are some flip phones that provide web browsers and touchscreens (such as the water-resistant Motorola Quantico), but apps on feature phones are extremely limited as compared to the Google Play experience on an Android smartphone.
The designation “smart” places smartwatches in a different category than a regular watch, and some consumers want added functionality to go along with the price tag. With Isla’s attack of Samsung and Apple smartwatches, Pebble is sending the message that they want to provide a basic timepiece experience. In reality, though, this contradicts Pebble’s own software updates that have now added functionality that goes far beyond that of a basic watch: mobile notifications, language settings, Paypal payment compatibility, the ability to end in-progress phone calls, as well as fitness and sleep health tracking. Basic timepieces are devoid of these features.
With Samsung’s numbers leading the way for now, it seems as though Samsung’s “overthinking” is in high demand.Join the Discussion