Smart Watches have been around for the last decade yet has failed to take off for one reason or another: they looked ugly, were too bulky, had weak functionality, or the battery life was not good enough. Market intelligence firm ABI Research projects more than 1.2 million smart watches will be shipped in 2013.
ABI's senior analyst Joshua Flood states that the "strong potential emergence of smart watches can be attributed to several reasons. 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."
ABI notes that wearable computing device can be split into four categories
ABI lists four distinct types of smartphones in the market or coming to market. The first is a notification type of watch that offers alerts for incoming calls, messages and other notifications. The other three categories of smart watches include voice operational, hybrid watches and completely independent smart watches.
Standalone smart watches with their own OS are moving beyond a smartphone accessory. With the potential to be purchased as a standalone 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.
However, ABI can't ignore the ten ton Gorilla in the room that is really sparking this type of report at this time. ABI finally coughs up "Apple's hotly anticipated iWatch," and the copycat OEM's that will follow Apple's lead in this new smart device category.
Mr. Flood added that "Smart watches that replicate the functionality of a mobile handset or smartphone are not yet commercially feasible, though the technologies are certainly being prepared."
Apple's vision of a future information wristband that could double as a watch was first presented by Patently Apple in late February of this year. Although most grand visionary type of products like an iWatch could take years to go from patent filing to market product, Apple's board member Bill Campbell weighing in on wearable computers over the weekend provided a healthy boost to the idea that a wearable computer such as an iWatch could already be in the cards at Apple.
ABI noted in February that wearable computers could reach 485 Million Annual Units by 2018.
About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.