With the growth of Apple in the field of smart watches, the development of the entire smart watch has been driven, and the prospect of the bracelet is relatively unclear. In 2018, shipments of wearable devices are expected to reach 132.9 million units, of which smart watches will account for about 1/3, and more than half of the 43.6 million smart watches are Apple products.
At the same time, it is expected that by 2022, the share of smart watches in the wearable device market will increase from 32.8% this year to 38.3%, while the market share of smart bracelets will drop from 36% this year to 22%. Obviously, smart watches will become the protagonist of future wearable device shipment growth, which will also greatly weaken the position of the bracelet in this field.
Why is there no future for the bracelet? Can’t integrate more sensors
At present, the leading manufacturers in the field of smart bracelets are Xiaomi and Fitbit. In foreign countries, Pebble, the originator of smart bracelets, transferred assets such as technology software to Fitbit for only $23 million. Jawbone, once considered the biggest competitor of Fitbit, started the liquidation process in July 2017 and has announced that Exit the wearable market.
The current leader of the global smart bracelet is Xiaomi, which is popular with Chinese users and Indian users with a lower-priced bracelet. The price of Xiaomi Bracelet 2 is only 149 yuan. In China, the smart bracelet is driven by the Xiaomi bracelet to enter the era of low-cost competition. And low-cost competition has brought about product homogenization and mixed products. On the Taobao, dozens of bracelets abound. The proliferation of low-priced products is causing bad money to drive out the good money in the entire market, eventually leading to the burying of really good products. Small companies face low-cost competition from big companies such as Xiaomi and lack sufficient market profit margins to upgrade their products, further exacerbating homogenization. Finally, due to the price sensitivity, the market has seen shoddy hardware product, tens of dollars of bracelet products will not be able to use better components.
In addition to the problem of low-cost competition, smart bracelets also face technical difficulties brought about by consumption upgrades. Around 2012, the bracelet has only a simple pedometer. By 2015, the bracelet entered a mildly intelligent phase. In 2017, in addition to counting, many smart bracelets, like smart watches, have begun to monitor heart rate, monitor sleep, blood oxygen, blood pressure, and even UV index.
According to statistics, there are probably the following types of sensors commonly used in wearable devices:
1), acceleration sensor
Today’s smart bracelets are basically equipped with three-axis accelerometers. The basic sensor used to record the number of steps and running.
2) Optical heart rate sensor
It is mainly used to detect heart rate, and factors such as exercise, posture, and even skin color will affect the heart rate measurement results of photoelectric method. Therefore, the heart rate measured by most wristbands and watches is not completely accurate, but it is enough for normal exercise heart rate monitoring.
3), Global Positioning System (GPS)
GPS is already a very popular technology. Due to its large power consumption, it has not yet been fully popularized in sports bracelets. Only some sports watches that are positioned for professional motion monitoring have GPS chips for recording the user’s geographical location and running route. Wait.
4), temperature sensor
The temperature sensor measures the skin temperature. Through the rise of body temperature, the smart bracelet can judge whether it is moving or may have a fever, and at the same time, with the change of heart rate, it can monitor the abnormality of human body temperature.
5), air pressure sensor
The altitude can be measured. In the height movement of 10 floors, it can be controlled within 10CM, providing accurate height information in the case of large shopping malls, mountain areas and other GPS coverage.
Air pressure sensors can also help improve the accuracy of the fitness tracker, especially in applications where heat is calculated. The heat consumed by running, climbing stairs, climbing a mountain, etc. varies. Although the acceleration sensor can determine that a person is climbing, it cannot be sure whether the person is uphill or downhill. The high-motion data is introduced by the pressure sensor, and the corresponding algorithm is used to accurately calculate the energy consumed by the user.
6), skin electrical response sensor
The galvanic skin response sensor is a more advanced biosensor that is typically equipped with devices that monitor sweat levels. Human skin is an electrical conductor. When it starts to sweat, the skin electrical response sensor can detect the sweat rate. Together with the accelerometer and advanced software algorithms, it helps to more accurately monitor the user’s psychological state and anxiety.
7), ambient light and UV sensor
The ambient light sensor simulates the sensitivity of human glasses to light, and can judge the time according to the brightness of the surrounding light, and effectively save the power consumption of the bracelet.
Ultraviolet sensors use the photoelectric emission effect of certain semiconductors, metals or metal compounds to release a large amount of electrons under ultraviolet light. The detection of this discharge effect can calculate the ultraviolet intensity. The UV index in the light can be monitored to achieve a sunscreen reminder operation.
8), blood oxygen saturation SPO2 sensor
The hemoglobin in the blood have different absorption ratios of infrared light and red light. The infrared light and the red light are simultaneously irradiated to the finger, and the absorption spectrum of the reflected light is measured to measure the blood oxygen content. For mountain climbers, it can promptly remind you to avoid hypoxia, which is also very useful for users with respiratory diseases such as asthma.
9), capacitive sensor
Many wristbands have a wrist-removal function. In fact, the capacitance sensor is used to monitor the change of the capacitor voltage. The matching algorithm automatically detects whether the user wears the bracelet and gives a corresponding reminder. Avoid sleep misjudgment, heart rate monitoring, etc. without wearing a wristband.
10), Hall sensor
Used in the wristband to detect if the earphone is worn in the ear can. The built-in magnet on the wristband determines whether the earphone is on the wristband or away from the wristband by sensing the change in magnetic flux between the earphone and the wristband. When it is taken off, the sound is adaptively converted from the phone to the Bluetooth output. It is very common in mobile phones and is not common in wristbands. It is mostly used in Bluetooth headsets, such as Huawei B3.
11), bioelectrical impedance sensor
Blood flow monitoring can be achieved by the biological body’s own impedance and converted into specific heart rate, respiration rate and skin electrical response index. It is a more advanced integrated biosensor with relatively higher accuracy.
The implantation of a large number of sensors makes the monitoring project of the bracelet more comprehensive and intelligent, and also puts higher requirements on the volume, power consumption and cost of the product. The limited PCB area of the bracelet determines that it is impossible to carry too many sensors and achieve more functions. In such a small area, if you want to integrate so many functions, it can be described as “the dojo in the lion shell”, which is far more difficult than the traditional mobile phone design. In contrast, smart watches have more room to expand.
In addition, all the functions of the smart bracelet need to be connected to the mobile phone, which can be regarded as an accessory of the mobile phone, which further limits its development. Smart watches that support cellular networks that can be run independently are already in their own right. If the smart bracelet also needs to increase communication capabilities, the internal space of the bracelet will be more difficult to meet. Therefore, the author believes that the smart bracelet is a transitional product before the popularization of smart watches.
5G is coming, the future of smart watches?
After solving the power consumption problem, the smart watch with independent communication computing power and operating system is the ultimate form of smart bracelet. Of course, in some health and medical fields, single-function bracelet products have a certain living space.
This point Apple has pointed out the future direction on Android wear2.0 and Apple Watch Series 3.
In fact, since Apple released the Apple Watch Series 3, which supports LTE network connectivity and can be used independently, the sales of Apple smart watches have been greatly improved. However, the corresponding foreign bracelet manufacturer Fitbit is not the same, its 2017 shipments fell by 31.6% compared with 2016, not only did not maintain the first position, and even fell behind Xiaomi.
At present, Apple occupies the high-end market of the wearable device market. Its Apple Watch Series 3 sells for RMB 2,588 and sells for more than 17 times the price of the Xiaomi Bracelet 2, but relies on the powerful influence of the Apple brand and its beautiful appearance.
After the coming 5G, smart watches will become another ideal communication and computing terminal after the mobile phone. Through the existing cellular mobile communication, and Nb-Iot, Lora, Bluetooth, WIFI and other connection technologies, future mobile phones, watches, VR, AR and various IoT terminals will have certain intelligent computing capabilities, and ultimately achieve real through linkage Decentralization. The data will not only be in the cloud, but will also be widely used in various terminal devices. This is not only a technical upgrade, but also a market reshuffle. In addition to the market will be reshuffled, the mobile phone market will also be subverted to varying degrees.
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