Many of you reading this might have had some sort of experience with Wearable technology in the past, whether or not that's a simple fitness tracker or something more complete like a smartwatch, but it appears as though these devices are emerging into categories of their own. This is according to a new report from IDTechEX which suggests the entire wearable technology landscape is to become a $100 Billion market sector by 2023. Within this, they detail that fitness trackers and smartwatches will start to become their own category, and be looked at as less like just another wearable, but their own product in their own right.
As with most new sectors, it appears as though the initial excitement and investment frenzy has died down, as IDTechEX puts it "the fickle nature of hype is beginning to show, and many companies are now progressing beyond discussing "wearables" to focus on the detailed and varied sub-sectors". These 'sub-sectors' are fitness trackers, smartwatches and connected clothing, as definitive products and sub-types start to emerge from the overall umbrella time of "wearables". Before we can reach that $100 Billion market however, the report goes on to detail a healthy increase of 10% to reach a decent $40 Billion in 2018. This is the sort of growth that the smartphone market has simply ran out of, and while the smartphone itself is important right now for wearables in general, that might not be the case forever.
The report from IDTechEX firmly believes that while the smartphone has been a key "enabler" for wearables in general, the bigger firms are looking ahead already; "all of the largest manufacturers now look to a future, where the hub itself may become wearable." This isn't exactly surprising, as we're already seeing some of this right now with devices such as the Gear S2 that can make and take calls on AT&T without being connected to your phone. On top of this, Google is making Android Wear 2.0 – scheduled to launch in the Fall – rely less and less on your smartphone, with fitness tracking to be a lot more accurate and independent of your smartphone. Wearable technology has been around for a lot longer than many will first realize, but it still has a long way to go, and losing the smartphone might just be the way that these gadgets find mainstream success on a scale not seen since the iPod.