The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show is winding down after giving the public its first look at the tech-type goodies that will hit stores this year. Smartwatches and other wearable devices definitely stole the show as dozens of brands trotted out new models in advance of the spring debut of the Apple Watch. Here’s a look at a more polished version of one smartwatch along with news about an upcoming model.
Sony SmartWatch 3 Steel
The original Sony SmartWatch 3 came out in the fall and was a crowd pleaser for those that could overlook the plastic body and band. Now Sony has given the device a stylish upgrade with a square-shaped face and handsome brushed stainless steel band.
On the inside, the Sony SmartWatch 3 packs some pretty impressive specs like a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM, a 420mAH battery with two days of life and built-in GPS for sports apps while the 1.6” 320 x 320 screen delivers easy viewing. Sony’s first Android Wear device has all the usual features like the ability to view and answer notifications plus use voice commands.
No word as to price yet but the Sony SmartWatch 3 Steel is set to go on sale next month. With the plastic model going for up to $269.99, the steel version will probably top $300, taking it into Apple Watch territory, price wise.
Samsung to debut round smartwatch at MWC?
One noted brand that did not bring an innovative new wearable device to CES was Samsung, but rumor has it that we can expect to see a round smartwatch from the Korean company at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Samsung has been hinting since summer that there could be a round smartwatch in its future but now SamMobile has leaked a few details. The new device will carry the model number SM-R720 and bear the code name “Orbis.” The most surprising news is that unlike Samsung’s Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, the newest smartwatch will be running Tizen rather than Android Wear.
While the majority of the earliest smartwatches sported a square face, the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R showed that a round face could give the devices a look more like that of a traditional timepiece. Will we see more round watches from tech companies? Probably yes, and when the makers of fine Swiss timepieces make their inevitable entrances into the field most of them are likely to retain a more traditional look while incorporating smartwatch features.
Survey shows smartwatch buyers are younger and poorer
The market for smartwatches and fitness trackers is still very young but already there are differences in the audience for each. According to a survey conducted by the market research firm NPD Group, 36% of those in the U.S. who own fitness trackers are between the ages of 35 to 54 and are predominately female. More than two-thirds of smartwatch owners are 18-34 and male.
The survey did not show whether those fitness band users are in better shape but they’re certainly richer, as 41% have an average income of over $100,000 while almost half of smartphone owners make less than $45,000. These findings would seem to indicate that so far smartwatches are selling mainly to the young, tech-savvy customer but that could change as wearable devices become more mainstream.