Smart Band Shipments Up Fivefold in the Past Six Months

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The wearable computing device market is still very much in its infancy. Markets for products such as smart glasses has still yet to take off. This year the smart watch category did finally take off, however, and companies like Samsung and Sony are reaping the rewards of being first to market with their smart watch products.

Market research firm Canalys today estimated that the "smart wearable bands" market saw shipment growth of over 500% during the second half of 2013. Shipments this fall far outpaced the firm's estimated 200,000 smart band shipments seen during the first half of the year.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung has broken out as the new leader in the smart watch space with its Galaxy Gear. The company sold over 800,000 units during the Galaxy Gear's first two weeks of availability.

Canalys also singled out the successfully-kickstarted Pebble smart watch as a possible competitor due to its iPhone integration and battery life.

"Samsung’s marketing and promotional efforts with the Galaxy Gear resulted in shipments of over 800,000 units in its first two months on sale, establishing the company as the new market leader," said Chris Jones, VP and principal analyst at Canalys. "Pebble continues to grow rapidly with its smart watch. iOS 7 integration and an updated SDK with additional APIs give Pebble’s partners a great opportunity to increase the watch’s appeal while maintaining its excellent battery life."

Though the wearable device market is finally being pioneered, there is still plenty of room for competitors. Canalys predicts that improvements in low-power displays, operating system design, and manufacturing will significantly develop in 2014, leading to further market expansion and a rapidly changing marketplace.

"The market for smart wearables is extremely dynamic," said Daniel Matte, analyst at Canalys. "This space is going to look very different in 12 months’ time. A successful wearable device depends on the connectivity of a smart phone, which increasingly serves as the new digital hub for mobile users. Wearables entail a unique set of constraints for vendors and platform owners more experienced with the smart phone and tablet markets."

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