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Report: Smart watches will be big in 2013

Posted: 22 Apr 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart watches  wearable computing device  market report 

Although it has been in the market for at least a decade, smart watches have failed to gain popularity. Criticisms on how they look, their bulky sizes, limited functionality and below par battery life haunt these wearable computing devices from becoming a trend.

However, over the last nine months a number of new smart watches have emerged that could change consumers' perceptions. Market intelligence firm ABI Research projects more than 12 lakh smart watches will be shipped in 2013.

"The strong potential emergence of smart watches can be attributed to several reasons," said senior analyst Joshua Flood. "Contributing factors include the high penetration of smartphones in many world markets, the wide availability and low cost of MEMS sensors, energy efficient connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0, and a flourishing app ecosystem."

The wearable computing device can be split into four categories: notification types, voice operational smart watches, hybrid smart watches, and completely independent smart watches. Notification type devices are the MetaWatch and Cookoo smart watches, for example, offering alerts for incoming calls, messages and other notifications. Voice operational smart watches enable users to conduct calls and speak some commands via the device such as Martian's smart watch.

Stand-alone smart watches with their own OS are moving beyond a smartphone accessory. With the potential to be purchased as a stand-alone product without the need for a smartphone, they offer high functionality and can connect to other consumer devices like audio speakers. A good example is the Italian smart watch maker, I'm Watch. Other good possible archetypes for this category could be Apple's hotly anticipated iWatch, Samsung's Galaxy Altius and Microsoft is also reportedly planning to release a new touch-enabled watch for its Windows-based smartphones and tablets. "Smart watches that replicate the functionality of a mobile handset or smartphone are not yet commercially feasible, though the technologies are certainly being prepared," Flood added.





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