Required Reading: GigaOm's Kevin Tofel on why the Android Wear numbers aren't bad

Some smart analysis from Kevin Tofel of GigaOm on the the Canalys estimate of some (or only, depending on how you look at things) 720,000 Android Wear devices having shipped in the back half of 2014. Either you're looking to paint the picture that Android Wear is a flop, or you can actually look at the numbers in context.

First, Kevin is dead on in that there's some fuzzy math in regards to timing. While the first watches started shipping at the end of June — that's the boring LG G Watch and only slightly less boring Samsung Gear Live — the others didn't come out until much later in the year. Here's the breakdown:

  • June 2014: LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live
  • September: Moto 360
  • October: LG G Watch R, Sony SmartWatch 3
  • November: ASUS ZenWatch

So half of the Android Wear stable wasn't available anywhere until the last three months of the year — and that's not even taking into account regional launches, or that, say, you could only get the SmartWatch 3 from Verizon at first.

More: These are the best Android Wear smartwatches you can buy

Kevin also nails the specious comparison to Pebble, especially given that Pebble had been shipping since January 2013 and didn't hit 1 million units until December 2014, nearly two years later. And even that comes with it being available for iOS and Android devices. And finally he absolutely is right in that Canalys is stretching things by lumping Android Wear in the same category with the $13 Xiaomi MiBand or any of the other non-smartwatch wearables to hit that 4.6 million.

Moreover, we simply don't know what a good number would be for Android Wear. It's entirely possible more watches have shipped than Google and its partners anticipated. Simply assuming that 720,000 isn't a lot in that short amount of time — and, again, we're talking $200 or more for the three top-end watches — is just shy of ridiculous.

It's still way early for Android Wear. And way too early for folks to be misinterpreting the numbers that badly.

Phil Nickinson