Wear the Latest Technology: the Smartwatch Trend

BY KRISANN SCHWANKE krisann.schwanke@go.mnstate.edu

Due to our strong attachment to technology, we’ve all wished we could glue our phones to our bodies without looking insane: well, now you almost can.

With wearable technology like smartwatches, you can accessorize while also wearing an extension of your cellphone all the time. According to lifewire, smartwatches can perform similar processes as your cellphone, including the following:

  • Display notifications of important events or activities. Depending on the smartwatch, these notifications can be similar to your phone or completely unique to your device.
  • Use apps. The apps vary depending on Apple or Google devices and depend on what you’re using the smartwatch for.
  • Manage media. If your smartwatch is paired with a cellphone you can manage what you’re watching or listening to.
  • Answer messages with voice. On certain Operating System (OS) models you can answer text messages with voice dictation like you’re a member of a spy organization. You can also answer phone calls.
  • Track your fitness. Some smartwatches like the Fitbit Versa 2 are dedicated solely to people who would like to track their heart rate during a hard run or count their caloric intake.
  • Use GPS tracking. This feature is good for location-based notifications or people who want to keep track of where their loved ones are.

What brands can you choose from?

According to Forbes, the tech giant Apple is doing what they excel at and dominating the smartwatch market with sales of up to $5 billion in 2017. Apple sells the Apple Watch, with its latest model called the Apple Watch Series 5. This is a general-purpose watch that relies heavily on the smartphone. 

The Apple Watch Series 5 variations

Google also has a hand in the wearables game with Wear OS, their latest being the Google Pixel Watch which is coming out soon, though they’ve mostly focused their efforts away from wearable technology and onto devices like Google Home.

Along with Fitbit, the Fossil Sport Watch is a leading contender in the fitness tracking industry. 

Who wears a smartwatch?

Newer models of smartwatches have benefits such as fall detection in the Apple Watch Series 4 and a sleep apnea monitor in the Fitbit, so it’s no wonder that the age demographic of 55 and up is buying smartwatches at a faster rate.

According to Fortune, the amount of people 55 and older who buy smartwatches rose 15% this year, while the amount of people ages 18 to 44 rose 7%. The article goes on to state, “By the end of this year, almost 61 million people, or one in 5 adult internet users, will use a wearable device of any kind.” 

Smartwatches can now come with many health benefits for older users

While the older demographic may focus on the health benefits of smartwatches, the younger demographic of 18 to 44 tends to focus on the convenience aspect that comes with wearable technology.

A real user weighs in

For a mother, Katelin Wadeson, in the Fargo area, the convenience of a smartwatch has helped her through long days as an elementary school music teacher and the disarray that comes with taking care of a young child.

Wadeson owns the Apple Watch Series 3, and she said she chose that because it is compatible with her iPhone and Mac computer. She said she likes it because it makes it easier for her to multitask.

“When I was working it made it simple to see who was texting me and read emails without looking at my computer,”  Wadeson said.

Now that she has a daughter, she’s able to focus on taking care of her without looking at her phone that isn’t always accessible.

“I can answer calls in the middle of a diaper change,” said Wadeson. 

Wadeson said there are only a couple of things she doesn’t love about her Apple Watch.

“The battery life isn’t great. I have to charge it every night, which isn’t a big deal.”

She also can’t respond to notifications from apps that aren’t supported by the watch, like the photo app Instagram.

Wadeson thinks the smartwatch trend is here to stay—it just might be replaced with watches that are better.

“It’s super convenient as an add-on to your cellphone. The only reason it might go out of style is because something better may come along that will replace it,” she said.

Now that she has become used to wearable technology,  Wadeson said she’d be more willing to try new technology in the future, though all she’s heard about besides smart watches is smart glasses. She thinks these would be good for, “taking pictures from my point of view.”

The future of wearable technology

According to eMarketer, wearable ear devices such as Smart headphones may be one of the biggest growth areas beyond smartwatches. The shipment of smartwatches will grow while the market for simpler devices with only fitness tracking will start to stagnate.

eMarketer also states that as of this year, younger consumers among the ages of 25 to 34 are still the largest demographic for smartwatches. Children also benefit from wearable technology, with 3.8 million in the U.S. using one in 2019.

Due to the fact that technology is always changing and bettering itself, and stocks for smartwatches are steadily rising, it’s safe to say that the wearable technology trend is here to stay.

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