The arrival of a new smartband in the market might ordinarily elicit something of a yawn, and not without reason. After all, many might think, the wearable technology market is fairly well glutted with such devices, particularly when the idea of fitness tracking is also introduced. So what makes Lenovo (News - Alert)'s upcoming SmartBand special? A few extra surprises are tossed in on this one, making it one to pay attention to even in a market that's full of such devices.
Pictures of the device—the Lenovo Smartband SW-B100 as it's currently being called—are already starting to make an appearance, so it will likely only be a matter of time until the product actually hits shelves. On the surface, the product is a fairly ordinary fitness tracker, able to measure steps taken, heart rate achieved, and calories burnt in the pursuit of said exercise. The device can also sync with a smartphone, transferring that data to a larger app that can provide a better overall picture of health with greater analytic capabilities. The device comes in a user's choice of blue or orange, and there's no word as yet on the price range.
All of this is fairly standard—the device also allows for custom notifications and reminders from the smartband—but there is a little something new here in that users will actually be able to, at last report from Lenovo's own product page, be able to unlock a Windows PC by having the device on hand, and without needing to type in a password.
An interesting new twist, yes, but will it be enough to keep other ventures out of the market? After all, there are a host of other such devices currently in play in the market; Acer (News - Alert) only recently introduced its own smartband in the Liquid Leap, and the ZenWatch from Asus offered up another take on a smartwatch from a computer maker. Meanwhile, Apple (News - Alert)'s smartwatch is still expected to make the biggest hit in the market, especially given the wide user base out there for Apple products in general. Meanwhile, this year, Samsung (News - Alert) led the way with 30.4 percent of the wearable band market, while Fitbit and Jawbone represented the second and third slots respectively.
Next year alone, Canalys is expecting the wearable market to hit a combined total of 15 million units shipped next year alone, and the market expands from there for more advanced devices, set to hit 28.2 million units shipped next year. That's quite a quantity of units, and it's going to leave customers and companies alike asking: what makes any one of these different from the others?
Some will compete on price, others on available feature sets, and still others on the strength of name recognition or a combination of any of the preceding. But the point is that everyone's going to need some kind of competitive advantage going for it, and right now—aside from one admittedly rather nifty feature about using the SmartBand as a kind of alternate access mechanism to a computer—the Lenovo SmartBand doesn't look like it has much of one.
However, with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES (News - Alert)) set to hit in January, we may well be looking at a fundamental change that adds a few new device to Lenovo's lineup. If said devices work together in unusual ways, that could change things. Only time will tell just how this all works out in the end, but something big could be afoot after all.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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