Fitness trackers are out. Smart watches are in. And soon both devices are going to blend together similar to what happened with PCs and tablets and the barrage of 2-in-1 devices.
Welcome to the ever-shifting world of wearables and the market is coming around to the well-worn watch form factor.
- Garmin launched the vivosport, which is a tracker that has the trappings of a smart watch.
- Garmin also launched the vivoactive 3, which is a smart watch.
- And Garmin rolled out the vivomove HR, which is a hybrid smart watch and fitness tracker.
- The Garmin launches come just days after Fitbit outlined its Ionic and a health coaching push.
And these developments all happen just a few days before Apple is likely to outline Apple Watch enhancements.
Clearly, fitness trackers and smart watches are going to merge. The secret sauce for each device maker will be balancing the fitness, watch, notification and app functionality. For what it's worth, I'm a Garmin Fenix fan because I'm more about the fitness and sports and turn the notifications off. A text or email on your wrist is a nice to have feature for other folks. For me, these notifications are annoying.
And just as these hybrid devices emerge, IDC released data that highlights the shift. Fossil, which bought Misfit, is now No. 5 in wearable devices. Fossil has mixed fitness and function throughout its product line.
IDC's pecking order goes like this:
- Xiaomi: Low cost devices, kids' devices and smart shoes. Xiaomi is looking at clothes too even though its Mi Band is the most popular.
- Apple: The company has made the Apple Watch more relevant has fitness as its purpose. IDC noted that Apple has been expanding its reach among health insurers.
- Fitbit: In transition, but needs an identity in smart watch market.
- Garmin: Focused on high-end advanced smart watches and health and fitness.
- Fossil. Bringing fitness features and smart watches to the masses.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the IDC data is that more than 51 percent of the wearable market is controlled by others. The market is splintered and the fitness tracker to smart watch transition may not be the last.