Trending: The importance of landing on time - and with all the promised features

We need to talk about smartwatch delays
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Wearables gets delayed. We get it. Shit happens. Things don't always go to plan for whatever reason. Unexpected hardware or software issues arise, parts suppliers let you down, and sometimes there are just those problems you can't account for.

We can be a little more forgiving when it happens to startups. Small teams with big dreams that shoot for the stars but quickly realise they are going to be up against it to launch on time. When it comes to the established names though, it seems more unacceptable that we are made to wait longer than anticipated for that kit to ship.

Read this: Best smartwatches to buy right now

We want that hardware to turn up on time but we also want the software and features we were promised to be there too. Don't give us a Lite version and make us wait months or even longer to get the full package.

Those delays also leave the door open for others to launch something better and all of a sudden that delayed smartwatch is dated even before it's arrived.

This is definitely one trend we hope doesn't catch on, but it's impossible to ignore that the dreaded delay has fallen on a few smartwatches this year and it probably won't be the last of them.

So who's not delivering on time then?

This week it was all about Misfit. It's finally launching its Vapor smartwatch, which we first cast eyes on back in January. It was supposed to launch much earlier in 2017, but it did not. So Vapor fans, mark your calendars for the 31 October. That's when you'll be able to buy it.

What's been the hold up?

So when we asked Misfit recently about the delayed Vapor, we were told this:

"Our commitment here at Misfit has, and will always be, to develop the most innovative, high quality products for our customers and when we launch a new product, we really want them to be as close to perfect as possible. We've been working non-stop to refine every detail of Vapor so that our customers have a truly outstanding smartwatch."

"We initially thought we'd have everything ready by late summer but we have high expectations for our products - and we know you do, too! So, we made the tough call to push the launch slightly to October in order to deliver the very best version of Vapor possible."

What we also know is that of course Misfit, which is now part of the Fossil Group, was planning on launching its smartwatch with its own in-house developed operating system. Then it changed its mind and decided to go with Android Wear, like many of the other Fossil brands.

And we're getting what we were promised right?

Well, mostly. We won't of course see Misfit's operating system and its fitness credentials have taken a knock now that it's no longer going to ship with built-in GPS. It will still be able to track activities like running and cycling, but only when it's piggybacking off the GPS on your phone.

It's not just Misfit...

No it's not. If you believe the rumours, Fitbit was meant to launch its first smartwatch earlier this year. The company has never gone on record to say that was the case, but that's not really what we've got an issue with here.

Go on then...

So the Ionic officially landed in October, except some of the features we were promised were missing. Want to use Fitbit Pay and you live outside of the US? Good luck. There's not a great deal of banks that have been signed up just yet. We're sure that will change, but a decent amount of support should have been there from the start.

Anything else?

That offline music service support still hasn't made it out of the US either. Pandora users are the only ones that can get in on the action, but everyone else is still waiting to see what music service is signed up. There's also a bunch of coaching features still MIA. So while the hardware is here, the full package it most certainly is not.

Fitbit, you are not alone

Garmin launched the Vivoactive 3 recently and while we were big fans of the sporty smartwatch sequel to the Vivoactive HR, we were disappointed not to be able to test out its Fitbit Pay equivalent, Garmin Pay. (There's a theme emerging here). Now we know there is going to be a lot of work involved getting these banks on board, but we'd like to think that Garmin and Fitbit would be able to have a few more sewn up in time for launch.

You're not getting away either Apple

Yes, the Watch Series 3 is here and arrived on time with LTE so you could stream Apple Music from your smartwatch. Just not yet. Granted it is coming soon and Apple hasn't kept us waiting too long for it, but it's arguably the feature we think makes best use of that added connectivity support. Our US editor Hugh has tried out streaming music from his Watch Series 3 if you want to find out what it's like.

Anyone else?

There's definitely a few more. We are still waiting on Tag Heuer's smartwatch for women it revealed it was planning to launch this year. Swarovski, a big name in the jewellery world was expected to present us with its very first Android Wear smartwatch at the Baselworld watch fair this year. But it did not and Robert Buchbauer member of the Swarovski Executive Board told us:

"Swarovski has decided to postpone its smart device initiative and will not present new smart device products at Baselworld 2017. Swarovski is simply not ready yet. We cannot yet make any statement regarding the timing of the launch."

So what's the deal here?

Well, that clearly smartwatches are still really hard to build. Whether it's tweaking software or agreeing deals and partnerships with services that will be available through these watches, even the big companies are clearly finding it tough going.

In our opinion, if it's not ready, don't launch it. We'd rather wait, even if that means a slightly more dated product on arrival. Just don't keep us waiting too long, otherwise we might start looking elsewhere.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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