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Samsung's Gear 2 to Sony's SmartBand: Wearable devices are the new frontier

gadgets Updated: Feb 26, 2014 01:58 IST
Vivek Sinha
Mobile World Congress


Can’t do without your smartphone, yet tired of holding it? Gadget makers have your welfare at heart. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, they have showcased an array of gizmos that can be worn on your wrist.

From smart bracelets that track your fitness to watches and glasses that let you take a call or check text messages and email, these gadgets come from the stable of the likes of Samsung, Sony and Huawei.

Sony’s SmartBand SWR10 is a bracelet that comes with an application that lets users log events and photographs they take, track their walk and check their sleep cycle.

Samsung launched Gear 2, an update of the Gear, which includes a camera, TV remote control and a heart-rate sensor.

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei revealed a connected watch, TalkBand. LG too said it would launch its first smartwatch this year.

Read: Samsung unveils water and dust resistant Galaxy S5 with heart-rate monitor

A major advancement, considering that wearable devices first became commercially viable just last year, said David Sovie, head of electronics and technology at Dublin-based consultancy group Accenture.

New Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch and Sony’s SmartBand SWR10 are displayed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. (Photo credit: Agencies)

“I think 2014 is when you will start to see more mass market, or at least wider adoption of these technologies,” he said. But the real change in game will happen when Apple launches such a product, though Google Glass has already been creating buzz.

These wearable gadgets, jostling to grab the consumer’s imagination, promise new revenue streams for tech giants staring at slowing smartphone sales.

According to an Accenture study of 23,000 consumers in 23 countries, there is a large appetite for such products, with 46% saying they were interested in smartwatches and 42% in smart-glasses.

A big deterrent in a country like India it is the high price points, in the Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 35,000 range. “The real game will start when the likes of Micromax, Lava and Karbon and Chinese brands start copying these products. This could dramatically lower the prices to as low as Rs. 2,000,” said Rajat Agarwal, executive editor of tech news portal BGR India.

Agarwal said this could begin as early as this year, and over the next one year the prices of these devices would start dipping at a fast pace.