The success secret in the mobile application business lies in quick response to new trends not only in the market itself but also in the field of electronic technology in general. Every year manufacturers release new models of smartphones, improving not only their technical characteristics but also the possibilities of the software, each time giving application developers new space for creative activities.
However, examining the smartphone market in search of new opportunities today, software companies often miss a whole new development direction.
This would be smartwatches – digital clocks supplied by respective software platform. Is it a temporary technology fad or a new “smart” appliances sphere that come into our lives as firmly as mobile phones did in their time? How to develop apps for smartwatches? Should the attention be paid to this field of the software market at all?
Oddly enough, smartwatches are not new: the first samples of such equipment appeared on the market over ten years ago. With the increase in devices’ capabilities, their popularity among the customers rose, and today we can say with certainty that smartwatches are something that will firmly and permanently enter our lives.
The more and more interesting smartwatches’ services become, the more people are interested in the new features of their devices. Thus, a completely new, almost unexplored, great development environment arises, with opportunities comparable to those which smartphones brought since 2007.
Smartwatch applications: why are they useful?
Of course, the main thing startups (and manufacturers) seek for while entering a new market is profit. Therefore, the question of the rise in a number of developed software solutions for wearable devices must be examined primarily in terms of financial benefits.
Of course, the wearable applications development can be a big risk, but it is worth remembering that the development of any smartphone application is risky too. How much does a user need to use apps on their watches? According to statistics, the average user installs three new applications monthly. In addition, each month about a hundred new mobile applications is released in the AppStore. Taking into account such a high competition, the chance of becoming successful belongs to truly innovative and unusual products. At the same time, the competition at the smartwatch application market is very low: to date, mostly device manufacturers create apps for wearables themselves and the amount of smartwatch app developers for hire is still low. In other words, the market is open for beginning developers, and each new product provokes the user interest.
The undoubted advantage for mobile application developers is the ability to adapt already released successful applications for smartwatch platform. In some way, this gives the already successful applications a chance to “re-success” in a different niche.
Another important issue concerning the financial benefits for application developers: is it possible to make a smartwatch application profitable? Today, one of the main problems for smartphone applications creators is an issue of product monetization: about 80% of mobile applications in the AppStore are free and make money by means of advertising, paid subscriptions, and cost lowering tweaks. This situation is primarily due to the high saturation of the market, which resulted in the soaring level of competition. Because of the rivalry, authors are forced to make free of charge products, only to give them a chance to develop. Regarding the smartwatch platform following can be said: low competition and the absence of a large number of applications give developers the ability to create paid products with notable pricings, without lowering the number of downloads.
The access to a fresh market of developing apps for the Apple Watch can not only become a new source of income but also creates a plethora of opportunities. Smartwatch manufacturers are constantly developing and releasing new device models, improving their specifications. This is a great chance for application developers to not only develop and improve their products but also to “conquer” a market for themselves. Not to mention, that building advanced, successful and popular applications for smartwatch platform, originators can uncover the recent movements in user demands to fabricators. This, in turn, will provoke manufacturing companies to change the characteristics and capabilities of new device models so that they will correspond to the maximum requirements of the applications.
Thus, mastering the smartwatch platform, one can change the market environment by adapting it to their product through digital devices manufacturers. In fact, the first developers who urgently turn their attention to the growing sphere may rise to later dictate the rules of the market, increasing their competitiveness.
Unified operating environment
One of the nastiest problems for the smartphone applications developers is the presence of multiple operating systems. While creating a new product, one has to focus on one of the available operating systems, or to develop multiple versions of an application, adapted to various systems, which essentially means creating multiple products.
Smartwatches are available with a couple of operating systems, which are being updated with each new model of the device, but do not change drastically. This greatly simplifies WatchOS applications development and Android Wear development, and facilitates the adaptation of the product to the new OS versions.
Smartwatch is not just a device for time measurement; its capabilities are really extensive. Of course, today smartwatch devices are mainly used for notification purposes and as a fitness management device, but all-in-all, a compact digital device with its own operating system hides inexhaustible aptitudes, bested only by its potential for smartphones integration.
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Development of applications for smartwatch platform and device manufacturers’ efforts would eventually lead to smartwatches becoming truly universal and indispensable tools. For instance, due to its compact size and the ability to communicate with other devices, the smartwatch can become an electronic payments intermediary and a mean to control the equipment, including home appliances and personal transport.
Such a vector of smartwatch evolution in the near future will make these gadgets as relevant and popular as smartphones are. And this, in turn, will bring huge benefits and endless opportunities for developers of applications for smartwatch platform.
Certainly, studying the smartwatch platform and market, application developers face many difficulties, as all the technical pioneers do. On the other hand, this fresh market niche provides authors with abovementioned features and advantages, because of which they should seriously consider the idea of entering the smartwatch applications market:
– Low competition;
– The ability to adapt already existing successful products to the new platform;
– The ability to create paid apps without losing users;
– Unified operating system;
– The ability to alter the performance of new devices, adapting them to fit their needs;
– High potential for future evo- and revolutions.