In Part 1 of this discussion, I detailed two ways in which the HTC smartwatch can steal the spotlight from its Android Wear rivals. First, the company needs to offer an array of wristbands so that users can make the most of the HTC smartwatch for any occasion (not a limited few), which isn’t the direction Android Wear is going in at the moment. Next, I also suggested that the HTC smartwatch ditch the magnetic cradle for a wireless charging cradle that would futureproof the HTC smartwatch against AW rivals in the future (not just in 2016).
Today, I’m back with 3 additional ways to help promote the HTC smartwatch that are so important they mandated another post. These three ways concern the user experience in a more detailed perspective than the first two ways or suggestions, though all 5 ways will prove helpful to HTC when it announces the new AW smartwatch – perhaps around the time of the HTC One M10 announcement.
An HTC smartwatch should offer an array of bands for formal and informal occasions
Google has designed Android Wear to be, in many ways, a platform for formal, premium smartwatches, but some consumers want a smartwatch they can wear when they exercise and when they attend a formal banquet, business meeting, or out-on-the-town event. The current crop of Android Wear smartwatches work for formal occasions (genuine leather bands, metal bands, etc.), but these same devices just look too formal when it comes to informal occasions such as a day out at the park or a day out playing basketball or football with friends.
Additionally, all Android Wear smartwatches make some claim about water and dust resistance (at least IP67, if not IP68), but the water and dust resistance doesn’t cover the wristband – only the display. The HTC smartwatch can win the battle by offering an array of bands for both occasions so that users can buy bands as they like and replace them on their HTC smartwatch when they please. The beauty of the smartwatch is that it can serve as either a fitness band or a formal timepiece when you need it to; let’s get wristbands (rubber, metal, leather, etc.) to match that idea.
An HTC smartwatch should house a bigger battery than current Android Wear smartwatches
Some may think that crafting smartwatches is a hard business (and it is at this point), similar to crafting smartphones, but there are a few things that all consumers demand. One major craving consumers have for smartwatches and smartphones is more and more battery life. If you place a larger battery in your smartphone than your rivals, and it performs better than that of your rivals because it is well-optimized, you’ll win brownie points with customers.
An HTC smartwatch may be at a disadvantage because it’s launching much later than the current crop, but it can gain an advantage in Android Wear if it launches with a larger battery than its Android Wear rivals. The LG Watch Urbane has a 410mAh battery, while the Moto 360 has a 300mAh battery (if you select the 42mm version) and a 400mAh battery for the 46mm model. Most Android Wear smartwatches will have anywhere between a 300-400mAh battery, so the HTC smartwatch should have at least a 500mAh battery or higher.
Instead of thinking about winning the “thin and light” contest, the HTC smartwatch should go for what is of the utmost priority to consumers: battery life. If it wins this battle, the HTC smartwatch will not need to have too much fanfare to get buyers to glance its way. Oh, and, by the way HTC, you don’t need to make the HTC smartwatch “bezel-licious” to bring something of a bigger battery to the table.
An HTC smartwatch should have an ultra-competitive price point
HTC’s smartphone sales in 2015 were extremely disappointing, and this is undeniable. At the same time, however, the new year (2016) brings some optimism and hope that the Taiwanese smartphone maker (and soon, smartwatch maker) can turn things around. One way in which HTC can do that is to give its HTC smartwatch an ultra-competitive price point.
Android Wear smartwatches are easily priced at $300 by Google, but this is a problem when you consider that the Asus ZenWatch runs for only $150 (and this is for the second-gen. ZenWatch, the ZenWatch 2) – half the price of the others. Then, you’ve got the insanely-priced $400 Huawei Watch, the $300 Moto 360 (2015 version), and there was once the $250 Sony Smartwatch 3 (which has now been removed from the Google Store). The Asus ZenWatch 2 is the most affordable Android Wear smartwatch in the Google Store, which is more to the chagrin of the others (including the LG Watch Urbane).
These smartwatches are priced at their $300-$400 price points because they want to give the impression of luxury smartwatches, but these smartwatches are mobile gadgets that, in the eyes of many, will become obsolete in a few years and will no longer receive device support. Of course, Android Wear smartwatches like the Moto 360, LG Watch Urbane, and Asus ZenWatch 2 may not become obsolete in two years, but they won’t receive updates forever. If this is true, then pricing them at a price point that matches what many consumers could pay for a desktop or laptop computer (or a smartphone, for that matter) doesn’t seem too reasonable.
The HTC smartwatch has an opportunity to do what all Android Wear smartwatches should’ve done to begin with: emerge with a price point so competitive that consumers start to wonder why the other smartwatches are so terribly priced. At that point, the Moto 360, Huawei Watch, and LG Watch Urbane will start to lose their shine when consumers realize they can buy an HTC smartwatch for a fraction of the price of the other, veteran smartwatches. Why pay $300 for a Moto 360 when you can get an HTC smartwatch, beautifully crafted, for half of that?
If the HTC smartwatch can grab consumer wallets and dollars, then HTC will be one step closer to making its Android Wear wrist gadget a lethal rival on Google’s wearables platform.
We’ve covered five ways that the upcoming HTC smartwatch can steal the spotlight from its Android Wear rivals: by 1) offering square and circular form factors for the smartwatch display, 2) offering an array of bands that include luxury wristbands as well as informal, sweat-resistant and corrosion-resistant wristbands, 3) having a bigger battery than the other competing smartwatches, 4) going with wireless charging over magnetic charging, and 5) providing a competitive price point that matches that of the Asus ZenWatch 2 while undermining the price points of the competition.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some consumers may not find the HTC smartwatch to be that convincing or persuasive, but these ways will help it put forth a fantastic effort. Finally, if the HTC smartwatch doesn’t feature the black tire of the Android Wear giant Moto 360, it may just pull ahead of the most popular smartwatch on the platform. Anything to get the HTC smartwatch moving in the right direction will help HTC’s bottom line.