Sure, Your App Is Mobile. But Is It Wearable?
By Josh Galde | October 15, 2014
If you’re a Financial Times subscriber with a Samsung Gear S smart watch and the fastFT app, you could be doing just that — reading the latest news flashed one word at a time on your watch screen. This is one of the more benign examples of the Jetsons-like reality that is descending on us faster than we may even realize.
Already, we’re wearing computers as eyeglasses. We’re donning bracelets and willingly having our every move tracked, recorded, and broadcast to the world. And by early next year, we’ll be talking into our watches walkie talkie-style — hello, Dick Tracy, meet Apple Watch! — and paying at the cash register with a flick of our wrists.
“Wearables” is the watchword of the latest consumer tech trend, and it’s a category poised to explode. Morgan Stanley predicts that Apple will sell between 30 and 60 million Apple Watches in the first full 12 months it’s available. Analyst firm Canalys more conservatively predicts eight million “smart bands” will ship in 2014 (excluding fitness bands), and 23 million total smart watches in 2015, including the Apple Watch. On top of that are the now sort-of-smart “wearable bands” — Fitbits, Nike Fuel Bands, and the like — shipments of which Canalys predicts will total around 17 million units in 2014.
By any count, that’s a lot of wrist hardware. But what’s even more impressive is the growth trajectory. Shipments of smart bands in the second half of 2013 grew 700 percent over the first half. And if Canalys’ numbers hold up, they’ll grow 350 percent in 2014.
What does the wearables craze mean for marketing technologists?
On the one hand, it’s an incredible opportunity to be at the leading edge of an ascending technology that is already hugely significant. With tech giants including Google, Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft throwing their weight behind wearables, we can expect body-borne computing devices to rapidly become ubiquitous.
Health, fitness, banking, geo-information, communication, payments, all manner of notifications — the possibilities are broad and exciting. The market will soon be crowded with players trying to grab “share of wrist.” And as is always the case, the early winners will be the biggest winners.
But as is also the case, these are technologies that require testing and monitoring to ensure an outstanding user experience. The good news is that the technology is ready now to test and monitor wearable applications.
Just as Keynote offers testing and monitoring for a huge selection of smartphones and tablets (more than 500), we are also committed to support the wave of wearables coming into the market. Clients can test the Samsung Gear 2 right now, and soon, the LG G. And we’ll be ready for the Apple Watch on day one when it debuts in 2015.
Testers can and will be able to interact with all the device controls on the wearables, just as with the smartphones in our cloud test pool — pressing the buttons and dials, touching the screen, and any other type of interaction, just as if it were on the wrist. Interaction with the paired smartphone is also part of the test matrix, so the complete transaction chain can be tested and monitored.
What’s at stake for marketers? Wearables, and wrist-wearables in particular, are expected to be a huge market. Not as big as smartphones, but quickly growing by the tens and tens of millions of units. Those who can grab share of wrist — which, presumably, will be a much smaller pool of apps than one would load on their phone — will have a distinct advantage in terms of presence, interaction, and branding. But only if those apps work to user expectations. And the only way to ensure that is to test early, test often, and monitor continuously.
Sign up for a free trial of Keynote’s mobile testing.
To learn more about how to test on wearable devices today, contact sales.
Learn more about Keynote’s Mobile App Monitoring.
- CNBC.com, “Wearable smart bands set for 350% growth in 2014,” by Matt Clinch, 2/12/14
- Digiday.com, “FT enters the wearable fray with a new app for Samsung,” by Chris Smith, 9/4/14
- Seekingalpha.com, “Google To Expand Market Share In Wearable Technology,” by Options Calling, 8/5/14