In the wake of the mega-successful Pebble Watch Kickstarter campaign, large tech companies took notice of the untapped demand in the market. Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Google are all rumored to be working on their own version of the Smart Watch.
Though true consumer demand for such devices has yet to be proven, even analysts believe wearable computers could soon become the next big tech growth market. Tech analyst firm Canalys this week predicted that over 5 million smart watches will be shipped next year. This is up from the 500,000 that are predicted to be shipped this year, mostly by Sony and Pebble.
“Smart watches will be the most important new product category in consumer electronics since the iPad defined the market for tablets,” said Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys. “Software platforms tied to smart watches will also be a tremendous opportunity for developers to write apps in categories such as health and wellness or sports and fitness.”
The analyst predicts that the coming flood of smart watches will not yet affect the smartphone market, as current battery technology precludes putting mobile access into the devices. Canalys does predict, however, that smart watches will heavily affect the market for existing watches, which shipped a total of 1 billion watches in 2012.