The Galaxy Gear didn’t exactly light the world on fire, but you should have some sympathy for Samsung — it turns out that making a hit smartwatch is much more challenging than making a hit smartphone. In an interview with Re/code, Samsung Design America studio chief Dennis Miloseski discusses why smartwatches are still very much works in progress and says that tech companies are still trying to cope with some of the technological limitations of the hardware that’s available now to use in devices such as the Galaxy Gear.
The most obvious limitation, he says, is that smartwatch batteries just aren’t very strong at the moment, which limits the kinds of data-heavy applications that people might want to use them for. This is why, for the time being at least, it makes sense to use smartwatches more as compliments to smartphones that can do more of the heavy lifting when it comes to GPS-based functions.
“They are in their infancy right now where battery life is really a challenge,” he tells Re/code. “It’s actually intelligent to leverage the fact it is a tethered device.”
The other big issue, he says, is one of fashion. While Samsung can happily pound out lots of giant-sized smartphones such as the Galaxy Note 3 to consumers who want bigger screens, it can’t do the same thing for watches that have to look elegant and have to blend in with what a person is wearing.
“When I have something on my body, it is a part of me,” he says. “You have to look at the tastes that individuals have. It is something that is visible on your body and it is a part of you.”
Put it all together and you have a major challenge that spans not only technological limitations but fashion tastes as well. Smartwatches look like they’ll be a very tough nut to crack.