Lack of brand-name smartphone could be Google's downfall in wearables battle

There is one big reason why Google may not emerge the victor in the wearable device and apps battle being waged with smartphone makers Apple and Samsung: It lacks a brand-name smartphone and thus faces a big market challenge.

"The 'vehicles' for these platforms to go to market are phones and wearables, so while Google may be the best positioned of the three to build a consumer friendly data management platform, it remains to be seen how they can productize it," Naveen Rao, a Chilmark Research patient and consumer engagement analyst, recently told Health Data Management.

Samsung has built its own OS for its Gear portfolio and currently is the top Android device player. Meanwhile Google is developing its Android Wear product line with a proprietary OS. However, beating Samsung or Apple--whose iPhone accounts for 40 percent of the smartphone market share--won't be easy, according to the article.

"This means that Samsung could control about half of the market for deployed Android OS," Rao says. "This all assumes that Apple and Android users are equally interested in using a health tracking platform [or that people are interested in this stuff at all]. It's the Google and Samsung platforms that are more fungible. I am guessing that SAMI will come deployed with Samsung phones [or be written into an OS upgrade], while Google will be a downloadable app."

In March, Google provided a sneak peek at its upcoming wearables strategy, which will kick off with smart watches and promises to go "well beyond" fitness insight with an "expansive catalogue of apps." Sundar Pichai, senior Google VP for Android, Chrome and apps, stated devices will provide information pulled in from messaging apps and Google notification services.

Earlier this month FierceMobileHealthcare shared a Forbes report that Google plans to launch a health platform called Google Fit that will aggregate data from fitness-tracking devices and health-related apps. The platform likely will be a direct competitor to Apple's HealthKit and Samsung's Sami biometric platforms.

For more information:
- read the Health Data Management article

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