Poll: Can the smartwatch be a success by just being an extension of your smartphone or does it need to be a stand-alone device?

Poll: Can the smartwatch be a success by just being an extension of your smartphone or does it need to be a stand-alone device?
We won't lie to you -- there was a short period of time when we felt like smartwatches and wearables as a whole are going to be the next big form factor. Nowadays, however, we're not quite so sure that they'll amount to too much -- even in comparison with tablets. Regardless, manufacturers seem pretty intent on pushing the envelope, whether because profits are hurting in their smartphone division or because they sincerely believe in their value proposition, and that means that these are not going anywhere and are here to stay.

But many people's initial disappointment with smartwatches in particular is owed to the fact that they perhaps expected a bit too much out of these tiny gadgets -- they expected them to be full-blown, stand-alone smartphones basically. But it's becoming quite obvious that, despite a few rare exceptions, the industry isn't particularly interested (or perhaps are limited from) in going in that particular direction, at least for now. Instead, smartwatches are, in their current shape, mostly an extension to your smartphone experience. That doesn't necessarily sit well with all, as already pointed out, but we'd like a larger data sample, so here goes.

For smartwatches to be successful, do you feel like they need to be stand-alone devices? Or do you feel like manufacturers' are going in the right direction and it's just a matter of time for their ecosystems to grow sufficiently and for technology to further catch up before they become successful in their current function as extenders of the smartphone experience? Let us know!

Can the smartwatch be a success by just being an extension of your smartphone or does it need to be a stand-alone device?

Yes, smartwatches can be successful in their current form, but it'll take time
44.97%
No, smartwatches need to be stand-alone devices to succeed
41.64%
I can't tell at this point.
13.39%

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28 Comments

1. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

They may not necessarily need to be independent but they definitely need to be supported cross-platform.

3. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Never going to happen if you want real functionality.

25. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

With the recent updates to Android Wear recently. Now you can pair Bluetooth devices directly to the watch. With that you will be able to play music directly on a bluetooth headset or support other Bluetooth devices. More functionality is continually added with software updates. Also consider the current smart watches and their hardware. They have the same storage, ram, and CPUs that smart phones had from a fews years back.

28. pavsidhu

Posts: 214; Member since: May 20, 2014

That doesn't really have anything to do with cross-platform smartwatches, it only relates to smartwatches becoming less dependent on smartphones. There is no chance Google will open Android wear up for the iPhone.

4. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

+1. Very logical step forward.

2. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Should be a fourth option saying : Yes, but smartwatches with standalone capabilities has a bigger chance. I'm not really sure but they might do well, but still being able to act on its own without its big daddy smarthphone is a tad better.

14. erikiksaz

Posts: 170; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

You'd think it would be more useful with standalone capabilities, but have you owned a smartwatch? Trying to do anything meaningful on a 1.X inch screen is a pain in the ass when your five inch phone is right in your pocket. Given that android wear is mostly voice-driven, it's an easier task to get things done. But on the apple watch, the amount of prodding and twisting you have to do to navigate to where you want to go is just a step backwards.

19. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

I have tried the Gear s, demo unit. I'm very much pleased with it and i will buy one. as for the "iwatch" i wont even consider it. I do not use Iphones neither do i like the litte crown wheel.. it looks way to clunky and stupid IMO. The only appleprodruct i use is the Ipad.

5. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Good question, I took the easy way out and voted cant tell at this point.

6. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Smartwatch will have more success once its battery life could last more than 5 days. At this point in time, most people would rather just wear their watches instead of buying $200ish watch that you need to charge everyday

15. erikiksaz

Posts: 170; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

If your phone needs to be charged every night, what's the harm in setting your watch down next to it. Do most people shower and sleep with their watches (especially if they wear leather bands)? I find that asking for a smartwatch to outlast your smartphone by two-three fold is ridiculous.

27. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I see your agreement. However, in the end it's a watch. It won't be attracted to the general public if a smartwatch only lasts a day. The thing is, people are addicted to smartphones and they will go through tons of trouble just to be able to use it. Charge it, try not to drop it, not to spill water on it, etc... (Having Z2 is awesome bc I never have to worry about water). However in the case of smartwatch, it has no additional function when comparing to a smartphone. It would just annoy most consumers to have to charge it everyday.... If I ever get a smartwatch, I wouldn't mind charge it every night, as long as the battery at least last 2 days with frequent "time check". However, my everyday routine doesn't put me in need of a device of that price tag. I'm in front of computer at least 9 hrs a day at work for 5 days. My phone serves good purposes. If my life style or career ever change, a smartwatch might be on my shopping list.

7. TBomb

Posts: 1505; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I think they need to be able to stand alone. It's like the cord of a telephone... without the cord, it's useless. But once a phone was able to go cordless, it turned into mobile phones and became very popular. Also, I don't know much of the tech behind it but I'm assuming bluetooth is how they connect to each other, which means it's only another thing thats running down your smart phone battery... which is only going to render the watch useless that much faster (even if it still has battery). Would it be possible to have 2 sim cards with the same number on it so a text or call would go to both or either or depending on the power state of each? That way theyre still connected, but the watch can still function completely without a cell phone.

8. TimCook

Posts: 450; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

The point is to have one device that does is all, That's the reason why we choose to buy smartphones, because a smartphone does it all,gaming,browsing, mail, camera and even paying for stuff. The smart watch is unnecessary because is one more device we have to carry. that's just my opinion though maybe others believe otherwise

9. Duke19

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 02, 2014

I wear a non-smart watch, and find myself pulling my phone out of my pocket to check for messages, and coincidentally then the time more often than just glancing at my wrist. A smartwatch would have to really give me a reason as to why it would be a bettery alternative to the phone, and being a standalone would definitely help with that. If I need a phone in my pocket for the watch to work, i might as well just stick to the phone.

10. nbringer

Posts: 180; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

In either scenario they will not succeed if they don't charge in few minutes or they don't last a week. I have two phones. I don't need a third battery to hate.

11. chadcy

Posts: 29; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

To me, a smart watch needs to be first and foremost a watch. Next, I want something that keeps my phone in my pocket as much as possible and keeps me focused on where I am going and allows me to interact with people as I go through my day. The only time I really need to be on the phone is when I am checking the weather, maybe read today's news, to text someone back and make a phone call. The smart watch is smart b/c it knocks out about two of those tasks for me, which can make me a little more efficient with my day. Most of this generation loves to look at screens and talk to people through devices and computers. I, on the other hand, like to have an occasional face to face conversation with folks. Anything that limits my head facing down staring at a small screen is a plus for me since I stare at a computer for work about 8+ hours a day. And besides, who really wants a small watch next to their ear for a phone call anyway.

12. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Honestly I feel smartwatches at this state are so new as far as configuration goes. We have had watches that do more then tell time for years but now we have actual smart watches which are basically small compuers on your wrist. So I'm not sure what people want. I was wong about the ipad being an oversized iphone in 2010 and look at the tablet market now.

13. dmakun

Posts: 382; Member since: Jun 06, 2011

I don't think smart watches need to be standalone devices because they will never replace the smart phone and so shouldn't be vying to replace the smartphone. People still buy laptops since the introduction of the iPad and android tabs, in the same way laptops never replaced desktops computers either. Today each device cater to different market segment and end users. I think in its current form, its designed to compliment our smartphones and this i feel is the right direction. However, very much like the gripe i have with smartphones, smart watches need to have outstanding battery life (in other words 4 - 5 times better battery life than smartphones) to tickle my fancy and I personally don't mind a heavy wristwatch.

16. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

A smartwatch should be standalone and have a smart OS. No more of this dumbed down Android Wear crap that Google is pushing on manufacturers. Without all the health data sensors and always-on/always-listening spyware crap, watches would have far better battery life. Nothing about these first generations of the Android Wear smartwatches is authentically about real needs of real people. It's all about data collection, specifically highly lucrative health data, voice data, and ambient life data.

17. Scott93274

Posts: 6038; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

lol, I'm one of the few that can't tell at this time. I think I would only buy one if it functioned independently from a phone, but I don't know if others have that kind of expectation so...

18. surethom

Posts: 1698; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Yes a smart watch is there so you don't have to get your phone out of your pockets to see a message or dismiss a phone call. I never want a smart watch that is stand alone. I dont want to take a phone call using my watch.

20. yungmel0

Posts: 39; Member since: Jun 18, 2011

Other than checking notifications and some fitness applications I wouldn't see the point in a smartwatch unless it has a unique function that is OEM spefic.

21. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

They need to do both. Just like tables have a wifi and lte version. I would never buy an LTE tablet, so I buy wifi. I like smartwatches, but they still haven't evolved to the point where I want them to be. I will definately buy one for work once they look more professional and they last at least a week without charging. I could see where people would want them to be a stand alone device especially in a profession where you primarily only take calls and texts. A watch and a bluetooth would be a great alternative to carrying a phone. Especially if you can compose texts with your voice and read them / listen to them through the watch or bluetooth. I like it to be connected to my phone, so I don't have to pull my phone out of my pocket. Although, I like to have my phone on me.

22. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Yes they need to be stand alone. My phone does not need an accessory.

23. bob_monkeywarts unregistered

I think they can be successful with a phone paired, but they need to do almost everything a phone can do if people will buy it. I have a G watch and my favorite feature of it is Google Voice Search. I almost never use the 3rd party apps. So I think that 3rd party devs will need to work harder, and not just making games (like 2048 or flappy bird which I have on my watch) or fart apps (yes, I have that, too. I wanted to see what Whoopee Wear did). They need to do other things, like being able to take pictures on their own, connect to a bluetooth headset, and probably have nice NFC features (other than Apple Pay or Google Wallet because most stores don't accept it).

24. pavsidhu

Posts: 214; Member since: May 20, 2014

I don't necessarily think smartwatches should be standalone devices, but I think current smartwatches are too dependent on phones. I do believe that they will become much more independent in the future while remaining in sync with smartphones. Android Wear's latest update has shown this with the capabilities to play music and connect to bluetooth devices without the need of a phone.

26. firstviji

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 28, 2013

Pairing with a smartphone is good but if it is independent it will attract more people to buy. it will be more comfortable instead carrying a smartphone I think.

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