All the mobile players already have, or are working toward, a smartwatch as a companion for their phones, with potentially life-saving utility for users. It also seems that a games console will be the next desirable ecosystem-expanding object to keep users invested.
How Smart Can A Watch Get?
Hon Hai (aka Foxconn) in Taiwan is the latest company to reveal a smartwatch product, following on from the likes of Samsung, Sony (on its second generation) and Pebble. This one is iPhone compatible and helps keep a track of your social media activity and, slightly more useful, your vital signs, a sign of things to come with these devices.
Sooner or later the electronic-doctor or remote-medical industry will latch onto these (rather than the expensive dedicated devices they currently use) and they could become a standard part of your health insurance package.
Many consumers already use their phone to monitor their running, exercise or cycling habits, (with perks or rewards from insurers for those who take exercise) so its only a small step to full monitoring to help pick up early issues that can be addressed by life-style changes rather than life-altering surgeries.
With Apple's iWatch still under wraps, the company, in need of a new angle, is looking like a seriously late-comer to the market. But, again, it could be the one to thrust it into the consumer spotlight beyond the gadget and geek crowd.
Onto the Console Market
That news was swiftly followed by reports (from the WSJ) that Google will produce its own smartwatch and a home console allowing gamers to play their Android titles on the big-screen, along with apps and other diversions. With the right marketing and a handful of "the next big Angry Birds-type" exclusives, and enough keep-fit titles to work in the health angle, it could find a space in the market.
This is likely a reaction to several crowd-funded Android consoles like the tiny $99 Ouya (pictured) coming to the market and products like Nvidia's Shield handheld, all focused on a premium gaming experience. Some console gamers may query the need for a next-generation, $400-$500 PlayStation 4 or Xbox One (packing the latest Windows developments) and a limited number of $60 games when they can buy a $100-$200 box and enjoy tens of thousands of free-to-play or inexpensive titles.
There's also a slow move from major developers to mobile platforms, with a growing number of big series headed to iPad recently, including Deus Ex, X-Com, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, suggesting that the two arenas will eventually merge.
With Apple showing off games controllers at WWDC, expect gaming to be a big battle ground for the mobile players in the near future as each ecosystem tries to be the one that offers everything a consumer needs in one place, across all devices.