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IHS: 94 lakh smart glasses units to be sold by 2016

Posted: 26 Apr 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Google Glass  smart glasses  wearable computers 

According to market research firm IHS, shipments of Google Glass and other similar smart glasses could hit 94 lakh units by the end of 2016 -- a jump from just 50,000 units in 2012.

Smart glass products like Google Glass are wearable computers with a head-mounted display.

The high-end outlook in five years is speculated to be a result of the initiative taken by Google towards 'Google Glass' and its efforts to promote application development for the product, said IHS.

Growth this year will climb 150 per cent to 1,24,000 shipments, mostly driven by sales to developers.

"Expansion will really begin to accelerate in 2014 with the initial public availability of Google Glass, as shipment growth powers up to 250 per cent, based on the optimistic forecast," claimed the research firm IMS Research, which is now part of IHS.

Google Glass this month began shipping to application developers who registered as early backers and paid the Rs.80,645.16 ($1,500) price tag. This is expected to spur innovations in applications that should take Glass from early adopters to the mass market. However, the success of Google Glass will depend primarily on the applications developed for it. If developers fail to produce compelling software and uses for the devices, shipments could be significantly lower during the next several years.

“The applications are far more critical than the hardware when it comes to the success of Google Glass,” said Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IHS.

“In fact, the hardware is much less relevant to the growth of Google Glass than for any other personal communications device in recent history. This is because the utility of Google Glass is not readily apparent, so everything will depend on the appeal of the apps. This is why the smart glass market makes sense for a software-oriented organisation like Google, despite the company’s limited previous success in developing hardware. Google is betting the house that developers will produce some compelling applications for Glass.”

“The true success of Glass will be when it can provide some information to users not apparent when viewing people, places or things,” Ahadome said. “This information may include live updates for travel, location reviews and recommendations, nutritional information and matching personal preferences, and previous encounters to aid decision making…"

However, if Google Glass ends up just being a wearable camera, then the number of smart glasses expected to be shipped over the course of four years could fall down to just 1 million.

Google Glass will face competition from alternative wearable camera devices already in the market, such as GoPro Hero or Recon MOD Live.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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