Other people expect that a $349 watch will do something useful, and those seem to be currently quite dissapointed, as smartwatches can only display notifications. Inputting data, thus any more advanced two-way communication, is a pain due to the very limited size of watch.
Fitness fans have discovered that smartwatches do not really nail it, and in addition to that there is a strong competition from dumb fitness trackers, which do their job.
So, our map will be much more accurate if we represent in this way:
First, the input method must be changed to something much more convienient. I do not expect a direct mind-to-machine connection anytime soon, but voice input seems to be achievable in the close future.
Google is handling the situation quite well. It owns a very advanced virtual assistant that is already present on smartwatches, it has a very broad set of auxiliary databases , to name just a few - maps, weather, locations, wifi networks paired with locations. Integrations are key to the VA efficiency - it needs to learn when and what we need, the more detailed context - the better.
What is more - Google has completely isolated the smartwatch makers throuch very strict licencing of Android Wear - the only allowed modification is building custom watch faces, which is brilliant move. All makers acts as free labs for Google, Google controls users through VA, and when the time will be right, it will just promote their own watch that will be a copy of the best watch available in the market.
The biggest challenge for Google - finding a business model. Smartwatches are too small to display ads, and VA displaying context notifications means that Google will have very little space to advertise.
The worst scenario here is that service providers will pay Google to promote their services.
I would not trust a VA that will tell me to buy chocolates instead of buying flowers for my wife because someone bid higher.
Apple builds great watches, and decent Siri, but it is very closed to external integrations. It is understandable, as Apple tries to protect own services, and does not want to let any 3rd party in. This is a problem for people using external services - they will face a tough choice - to migrate everything or to not buy Apple watch. I would be afraid of putting off people who would like to buy Apple watch but are not willing to dive deep from the very beginning.
Main challenge of Apple is to keep its own elitist status and at the same time to open for 3rd party services.
This is the player that makes the show interesting. Samsung refused to play Google's game, and created its own operating system. This move, from one point of view, is great, because it makes a room for VA, but on the other hand, it leaves a huge gap in apps.
Samsung has plenty of challenges - it needs to focus on VA instead of copying wrong approach of Siri. Apple model is just ineffective here. Also, more external apps and wider adoption of Tizen would not do any harm to Tizen.