With the announcement of the new Samsung Galaxy Gear, we had a chance to talk a little bit with Om Malik, founder of GigaOm. Om is an accomplished (and award-winning) journalist, with much of his work focused on the tech industry. What many may not know is that he’s also a watch guy and friend of aBlogtoWatch, which makes him the perfect person to talk to about smartwatches. Let’s see what Om has to say about the smartwatch segment in general, and more specifically the Samsung Galaxy Gear:
aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Given your background and interests, you’ve spent time around the smartwatch segment – how do you feel the category is shaping up?
Om Malik (OM): I think we are still in the early innings here. Despite all the hype and noise around it, none of the companies have come up with a killer, mass market product. Most of my friends in Silicon Valley are obsessed with them, mostly because they are alpha/super early adopters.
ABTW: What do you feel are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the products that have come out?OM: I think watches have been around for so long that we have certain expectations of them and if something doesn’t come up to that expectation, we tend to feel a little let down. From that perspective, I do feel that whatever we have seen hasn’t taken the history of watch making into account. Watches are extremely difficult to design because they have to withstand the rigors of daily life. And at the same time they have to look attractive and feel awesome on the wrist.
Unfortunately, the watches I have seen so far are so obsessed with the innards and the software inside that they are missing the aesthetics of a watch. A lot of people underscore the emotional satisfaction of seeing a watch on your wrist, checking the time and feeling a little something — something that is hard to describe. The watch and its face have to be reassuring. I don’t see that in smart watches — just yet.
ABTW: The smartwatch segment has been primarily served by smaller brands – do you think the arrival of bigger electronics firms signals their (the watches) arrival?
OM: Yes, I do agree that the launch of Samsung Galaxy Gear is a good development for the category. Qualcomm and others are jumping into the space. So from my perspective there is good energy to move the category going forward. That said, I am still rooting for little guys like Pebble to make a go