The smartwatch market continues to baffle pretty much everyone, and that includes both buyers and manufacturers. Once thought to be a sure thing that simply couldn’t miss, the smartwatch has not become the must-have device that everyone thought it would be.
Three or four years ago, manufacturers of traditional timepieces were worried that smartwatches were going to jeopardize the market for traditional mechanical watches, as it was thought that everyone who was already carrying a smartphone would flock to buy a watch that could interact with it.
This led a number of computer manufacturers to jump into the smartwatch business, including Asus and Apple, whose Apple Watch was expected to take the market by storm. Apple was so confident of the success of their product line that they introduced a model whose price topped out at some $17,000.
At that price, manufacturers of traditional watches, such as Rolex, were starting to panic, concerned their potential buyers might go buy the Apple Watch instead.
That hasn’t happened, and while a few traditional manufacturers, such as Tag Heuer and Fossil, have introduced smartwatches, a number of other makers have either scaled back their offerings (Apple’s five-figure watch is long gone) or bailed out completely.
Asus ZenWatch line was hardly the company’s bread and butter, and their plans to scrap the smartwatch line will likely not significantly impact the company’s bottom line. A lot of buyers are staying away from smartwatches as they’re not all that functional without a smartphone nearby and some of them are downright unattractive.
Since you can buy a watch for the same price that looks good, offers a lot of features and will likely last for decades, it doesn’t make sense to spend the same amount of money on a smartwatch that may be stuffed in a drawer in a year or two.
Many of us are old enough to remember the “new” quartz watches with digital displays that became ubiquitous in the 1970s, only to find them not working at all some six months after purchase. They were expensive and most of them had relatively short lifespans. We suspect that a lot of buyers remember that and they’re staying skeptical.
One of the downsides of Asus’ exit from the market is that the ZenWatch line was one of the more affordably priced lines of smartwatches on the market. That they were only able to sell a few thousand of them each month is a testament to the relative shakiness of the market.