Wearable technology, sometimes called fashion electronics – incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies – can include practical functions, but always have an aesthetic agenda, as any piece of jewelry or timepiece would. The vision is to interweave technology into everyday tasks to make our life simpler and more fun. These started with the first 'calculator' watch to the new wearable technology that allows monitoring and real-time feedback for athletes or notifications that you would normally receive on your smartphone to even the ability to make and receive a phone call.
The wearable market segment started slow – people were wondering if they were really a necessity or just a gadget – but from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014, there has been a jump of 684-percent, according to studies by Canaly's Wearable Technology Analysis services. There are basic wearable bands, such as a Fitbit or Jawbone that are designed for a specific set of functions, design more for runners, that work in conjunction with a smart device and cannot run third-party applications. Smart wearable bands (smartwatches) are multi-purpose devices that serve as an accessory for a smart device (receive notifications, answer calls, make calls) and they can run third party applications. Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones said, "Fitbit and Jawbone have very successfully grown and strengthened their relationships with channel partners internationally to grow global shipment volumes. They took first and second place respectively in the basic wearable band market in the first half 2014." Nike shipments are falling as they decided to reduce their involvement in this area, although Garmin – one of the GPS originals – successfully launched its Vivofit device and is looking at third place.
Samsung is used to being at the top – and in the past ten months have launched the smart wearable bands: Galaxy Gear, the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Live (based on Android Wear) and the Gear Fit. Remember, this report is based on shipments, not sales, and although Samsung is the worldwide leader at this point in shipments, they may have to heavily discount their product to sell it. LG's G Watch is also an Android Wear based device and even though the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch have performed well in the market – these two devices are not included in this study or shipments…they will be included in the third quarter report. The Pebble Steel held its momentum as it came in second and Sony with its SmartWatch 2 came in third place. Apple is also rumored to be launching a smartwatch soon and this should really change the dynamics of the wearable band market – increasing sales at a very fast rate. As well as these smartwatches are selling, they still need to improve in a few areas – an extended battery life, waterproofing, display technology and wireless charging to name a few. There are new designs and new models expected by the end of this year and shipments and sales should continue to grow. Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think of the new wrist wearables – do you have one, do you like it, still waiting to buy or have no desire for one…as always, we would love to hear from you.