Rounding out the remainder of the enhancements are assist for the Bluetooth 5 customary and an upgraded 4G LTE modem for quicker mobile information connectivity. Qualcomm says the quicker LTE modem ought to enhance providers like maps, music streaming, and voice assistants.
Does It Matter?
However each Qualcomm and Google’s Put on OS platform play a small position within the broader smartwatch ecosystem.
Within the first quarter of 2020, simply 4.2 p.c of all smartwatches offered have been working Google’s Put on OS platform, in response to Vincent Thielke, an analyst at Canalys. Evaluating that to Apple’s 36.three p.c market share in the identical interval, it is easy to see simply how far again Google’s working system sits. And of the 66 million smartwatches offered in 2019, Thielke estimates solely 5.6 million used Qualcomm chips, with Put on OS making up the majority at 56 p.c. (The remaining are principally smartwatches from Chinese language producers that use totally different processors.)
“Put on OS has not been rising yr over yr,” Thielke says. “It did not develop in Q1 2019, it additionally did not develop in Q1 2020. I feel one of many causes for that’s that it is type of simply fallen behind different smartwatch platforms. Different platforms have actually been prioritizing well being options—particularly relating to coronary heart fee—and from what we have seen with the Put on OS platform, we simply have not seen as robust of a push. There are restricted well being options.”
Apple launched an electrocardiogram in its Collection Four Apple Watch in 2018, which was cleared by the US Meals and Drug Administration and different governments all over the world. Samsung extra not too long ago noticed the South Korean authorities approve related performance in its watches, which run the corporate’s personal Tizen working system.
Samsung, at present third within the smartwatch market as of the primary quarter, gives sleep monitoring in its watches. Apple can also be set to introduce the identical characteristic later this yr in its subsequent model of WatchOS. Google has no native sleep-tracking performance in Put on OS but, although you need to use a third-party app. Additionally, Put on OS would not embody assist for electrocardiograms. The general well being and health choices in Put on OS are additionally extra restricted than what yow will discover in smartwatches and health trackers from the likes of Fitbit and Garmin.
One thing else holding Put on OS again, in response to Thielke, is the dearth of apps on the platform. Huge platforms like Apple’s WatchOS and Samsung’s Tizen, with their giant and energetic consumer bases, are extra enticing than Put on OS as targets for app builders, Thielke says.
That is the place Google’s Fitbit acquisition is available in. The deal remains to be pending regulatory approval, but when it succeeds, it would ship a a lot bigger consumer base for Google to be taught from. It would additionally give the corporate entry to Fitbit’s fitness-tracking prowess, which incorporates superior heart- and sleep-tracking options. None of this can occur anytime quickly although, as integrating Fitbit and Put on OS will take lots of developmental time.
Thielke additionally thinks that Google marrying Put on OS with Fitbit would possibly detract from the Fitbit model, because of Google’s poor observe file with its personal wearable platform, to not point out the general public’s broader issues about Google’s data-collection practices. He believes the perfect transfer is for Google to maintain the 2 manufacturers separate as it really works on a next-generation model of Put on OS that can pull within the strengths of each.
However even when these modifications come to fruition, it is unlikely Google will make a lot headway out there. Taking a look at Canalys’ information from the primary quarter of 2020, Thielke says Put on OS and Fitbit mixed solely amounted to 1.5 million smartwatches offered. That is nonetheless far behind Apple, Huawei, and Samsung.