Is China Ready for Wearable Tech?
The future for wearable tech looks bright as new products continue to flood the market. From glasses to smart watches developers are expanding to new horizons as consumers become more and more willing to sport electronics. With products from tech giants like Google and Samsung more and more companies are trying carve out their niche. The Middle Kingdom is no exception.
Although CNN pointed to China’s lack of pirate attempts as an indicator of low demand, there may be a bigger market than some think.
Predicted to be a $12 billion dollar industry by 2018, lets take a look at which Chinese companies may be cashing in.
Jawbone’s Up, a wristband that connects to your mobile, described as a “fitness tracker” already has an admirer. Codoon a Chinese startup founded in 2009 has a product that looks eerily similar. The Smartband S is connected to the company’s fitness app which reported to have more than 9 million active users as of October 2013. With the ability to connect to social platforms like WeChat, RenRen, and Weibo it has potential for aggressive growth. Already receiving over $10 million in Series A funding, the product is far from a cheap knockoff.
Compared to Jawbone’s Up price tag of $80 USD, recently reduced from $130 USD, the Smartband S is available to consumers for $65 USD. Not exactly a monumental discount.
A much more all encompassing product, GEAK Watch has a plethora of features likely to impress even China’s most tech-savvy consumers. A subsidiary of Shanghai based Shanda, a video game developer, GEAK’s smartwatch connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and runs Android 4.1. Able to show notifications including texts, email, and phone calls, the watch aims at making life more convenient for its users. Other features include monitoring blood pressure, sleeping patterns, body temperature, weather conditions, and the amount of steps walked. It even displays the pollution index, something very relevant to its Chinese consumers. But thats not all. With a built in WiFi module the watch allows you to instant message with voice-to-text input, read the news, download apps and many more features. More comparable to a computer then a watch, the GEAK Watch is available for $330 USD and as of March is the third best selling smartwatch on the market.
M100 Smart Glasses
Hardware manufacturing giant Lenovo has paired with New York based Vuzix for a Google Glass challenger. Their product, dubbed M100 Smart Glasses, has a built in HD camera for taking pictures and recording video. With the ability to connect to your mobile via bluetooth, the glasses offer a hands free experience something their marketing towards professionals particularly within medical and industrial sectors. The most interesting feature is that the glasses are compatible with 1000’s of existing Android apps and the developers have made a point to make the creation of custom apps open and easy for app makers. The only drawback is that to be the proud new owner of a pair it’ll cost you – the glasses are available on Vucix.com for a whopping $1000 USD.
There’s a lot to look forward to for wearable tech in China and and only time will tell which products will capture consumers attention and dollars.