We've been seeing a trickle of small to medium smartwatch announcements over the past few weeks. Each one taken on their own doesn't move the needle much, but together it's clear that the much-maligned category isn't sitting still. Smartwatches are quietly getting better and better by the day.
What's nice is that the people who will really notice it are the ones who already own a smartwatch.
Give me a précis, I mean I only own one.
Basically, everything from straps to watch faces to operating systems are getting an upgrade for Spring. It's not as exciting as new watches, sure, but wasn't it precisely me who was arguing for companies like Samsung to just slow down and not put people off buying device for fear of obsolescence in six months?
My records show that it was, in fact, you.
Thought so. Case in point: to the rest of the world, it might not be that exciting that the original Huawei Watch is getting Android Wear 2.0 by late May but to anyone with a Huawei Watch that's pretty cool. Because if you bought that you probably hate the prospect of wearing the Huawei Watch 2.
(Same goes for the circa. 5 people who have bought a ZenWatch 2 or 3).
Again, this could be pretty big news to a segment of Watch owners who have been waiting patiently to be able to store their carefully crafted playlists.
But is this new?
Well no, it's really just a bunch of updates. But the main proponent of the Treat Your Customers Like Queens tactic was Pebble, with monthly updates and experiments and community building galore, and that has now been bought up by Fitbit. (True to its previous, Pebble has released an update to keep its watches working as much as possible in future).
Speaking of Fitbit, for every boost Android Wear and S3 and Apple Watches get in the next few months, it will be playing catch up more and more with its delayed and production problem-ed Fitbit smartwatch for 2017.
Who's fucking it up?
Well, a whole bunch of SmartWatch 3 owners got mad at Sony for not supporting Wear 2.0. Its policy is to support devices for 18 months, which seems a bit stingy. And there have also been some grumblings about Lenovo not giving details for the Moto upgrades.
But I can pass my watch down to my child/pet/cactus?
I mean, we're not saying innovation is restricted to software updates piled on software updates from now on.
Apple has a new NikeLab Watch (it's just a new strap) and Samsung a new 24-karat gold Gear S3 Classic. Aside from maybe the Tag Modular 45, we're not in heirloom territory just yet. But if you bought a watch six months or so, there's plenty to keep it fresh and keep you happy. Unless, of course, you follow any non-tech news.