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Samsung, LG should partner with watchmakers in smartwatch battle

Technology research company Gartner has suggested Samsung and LG partner with traditional watchmakers for next generation smartwatch battle, where the Apple Watch will be present.

It follows limited success by Android Wear partners, selling only 720,000 units in the second half of 2014. Fitness trackers were the most popular wearable on the market in the second half, selling just shy of four million units.

"Customers believe that fashion brands can set a new trend in the smartwatch industry tapping into their strong brand power and consumer channels, which many electronics makers do not have," Gartner's research director Angela McIntyre said. "Major wearable device makers like Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics will have to modify their strategies to follow the changes in the market."

There are a few watchmakers looking to enter the smartwatch market, including Swatch, TAG Heuer, Breitling and Movado. Even though most are simply looking to add a few fitness and health sensors into a standard watch, others might be looking for a technology partnership.

TAG Heuer recently announced its smartwatch would involve a partnership between Google and Intel, but the price and release date for the wearable is still unknown.

Samsung did manage to become the largest smartwatch seller, with the Galaxy Gear and Gear S both selling well in South Korea and other South-East Asian countries. This could shelter them from the change in the smartwatch industry from gadgets to fashion.

LG has not managed to gain a large crowd for its own wearables, even though it has arguably better designs on the G Watch R and Watch Urbane.

Apple is marketing its own smartwatch directly at the fashion community, showing it off in China’s Vogue and Australia’s Elle magazine. This might be due to a lack of actual features to interest customers - Apple mostly focused on health and fitness - but it might also be due to the fashion community paying more for the wearable.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.