Smartwatch sales will ramp up quickly over the next few years, with more than 36 million devices gracing consumer wrists by 2018, according to Juniper Research. That’s up significantly from the mere million smartwatches expected to be sold in 2013.
Wearable technology has been predicted to be the next big tech innovation, and products like Google Glass have already been testing those waters. But smartwatches are also expected to play a large role in this revolution.
Smartwatches are capable of tethering to a smartphone or tablet device through a mobile app, enabling a wide range of functions to be performed through the watch. According to Juniper, smartwatch owners will be able to pay bills, make purchases, track their physical activity and read email and social media posts.
While smartwatches are trickling out sales currently, Juniper predicts the big surge will come when mobile device giants Samsung and Apple unveil their own versions of this technology. Apple has a long track record of waiting for other companies to blaze trails for new technologies before it introduces its own devices, but Apple and Samsung have each acquired patents and trademarks related to future smartwatch products.
Putting the Pieces in Place
While smartwatches remain a marginal technology for now, the infrastructure to support these devices is already in place. Both Apple and Google offer smartwatch apps in their app stores. Sony, one of the early leaders in smartwatch sales, reports more than 200 apps that can work on a smartwatch.
Meanwhile, new smartwatch developer Pebble launched a Kickstarter campaign that reached its $100,000 funding goal while selling more than 190,000 devices through pre-orders.
According to Juniper, the increased availability of apps and early smartwatch sales demonstrate the sales potential for the up-and-coming mobile technology — not just in 2013, but well into the future.
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