Fitbit Inc. (FIT - Get Report) , Garmin Ltd. (GRMN - Get Report) and Samsung each showed off new smartwatches at the recent IFA conference. None of them looked much like an Apple (AAPL - Get Report) Watch.
Fitbit's Ionic smartwatch is touted as "the ultimate health and fitness smartwatch," with Fitbit emphasizing features such as 4-plus days of battery life, a blood oxygen sensor and automatic activity and sleep tracking. The touchscreen on Garmin's Vivomove HR layers a small amount of text -- it shows things like notifications and fitness activity data -- on top of a standard clock view. The interface on Garmin's Vivoactive 3 is a little more advanced, but the emphasis is still on sports and fitness features. Likewise, Samsung's Gear Sport is also focused on being a fitness activity companion.
Unlike Apple with its Watch, there isn't much attempt to promote these smartwatches as luxury devices (replete with premium materials). And while some of them come with media and communications features, none are backed by a major ecosystem of third-party apps that can greatly expand what the watch can do beyond health and fitness features.
Though it's not for everyone, Apple Watch does effectively have the high-end smartwatch market to itself. Factor in the newest Apple Watch that can stand independently of a smartphone, and the tech king has really cornered the market.
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