James Park, CEO of Fitbit, thinks the biggest problem with wearables is that they do too much, singling out the Apple Watch as one of the devices he considers too complicated. Park, speaking to The Telegraph, also called out companies for not promoting the benefits of these feature-packed wearables, and doing a poor job of telling you why one should be on your list of cool products to buy.
Although Park says simplicity rules in wearables, it seems more complicated products from the company will come in the future. He says Fitbit sees the potential for smarter wearables, and considers those that integrate with smart home products, provide far more in-depth notifications, or can facilitate payments and prove identity a, “huge opportunity.” These features, along with improved fitness and health tracking technology such as blood pressure monitoring and even genomics, may end up being part of future Fitbit wearables.
Calling the Apple Watch and competing Android Wear smartwatches, plus many other smart wearables, overly complicated, echoes comments made by several companies during Mobile World Congress this year. In the absence of any major Android Wear announcements at the show, firms producing wearables that focus on style over features said simplicity was what people wanted, and that there was confusion about how to create and market feature-rich wearables to regular people.
This has also been Fitbit’s approach, and Park says it knew from the company’s formation in 2007 that, “fitness was the killer app,” for its products. Research quoted by Park shows the company has a 30% share of the wearables market, twice its closest rival. Despite this, the recently launched Blaze smartwatch does encroach on Apple and Android Wear’s territory, and wasn’t well received. Both it and the new Alta wristband have sold more than a million each, the latter doing so in three weeks compared to a month for the Blaze.