The first major foray into the smartwatch market has flopped entirely, based on new numbers from Korea.
Earlier this year the wearable form factor was one of the hottest emerging concepts on the market. Google’s Glass was building buzz, and it seemed like there were almost daily rumors about Apple’s perpetually soon-to-be-released iWatch.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, released in September, was the first device in the wearable form factor given a wide release. Google’s Glass is limited to 10,000 “explorer” beta testers until 2014, the Pebble has a limited web-only release, and there’s no firm release date on the iWatch yet. In many ways the Galaxy Gear, as the first wearable device to have a major release, is supposed to be a barometer of interest in the market — a test to see if wearable devices can move beyond the fad stage.
So far, as a barometer, the Galaxy Gear has forecast a succinct lack of interest in the market such devices. According to Business Korea, Samsung has only sold 50,000 Galaxy Gears to date, with daily sales of only 800-900 units. Business Korea says these numbers are “far below” the expectations of industry insiders.
This comes after earlier reports that indicated that the Galaxy Gear had a staggeringly high return rate, according to Best Buy insiders. Reportedly, 30 percent of users are returning their device leading Best Buy brass to ask its retail workers to survey customers as to why they are returning the device.
Perhaps the Galaxy Gear isn’t the best barometer of interest of the market in the form factor. It’s fatal flaw at launch was that it was only compatible with two devices.
But compatibility has since expanded post-launch, and enthusiasm for the device is still stagnant. If the Google Glass — with its frightening panopticon-like implications for privacy — launches with the same trickle instead of a wave, maybe people will begin to rethink the popularity of the wearable form factor.
VR-Zone previously reviewed the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and gave it a “fail” rating.
Source: Business Korea