Wearables to top 19 million units by year-end

The nascent market for wearable devices is poised to break out in 2014, reaching 19 million units sold, according to a report from IDC..


IDC's wearables forecast breaks down the devices into three categories ranging from simple, lower-priced devices to higher-end models. IDC identifies these categories as complex accessories, smart accessories and smart wearables.

In the near future, sales will be driven primarily by complex accessories such as Fitbit devices, Jawbone's UP bracelet, and the Nike+ FuelBand. Smart accessories, or watches, including the Pebble smartwatch, Samsung GALAXY Gear and the Sony SmartWatch, will also take "a giant step forward," according to IDC.

Finally, smart wearables like Google Glass (NASDAQ:GOOG) have yet to reach millions of units shipped. To this end, IDC believes that the runway for smart wearables is long, and it will not be until 2016 that millions of units begin shipping.

"Wearable computing is still at the launchpad," says Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile phones team. "The market has certainly warmed up to the notion of wearables, but the spectrum of devices is so large ranging from very simple, single-purpose devices to full-fledged computers that different categories will be able to gain salience sooner than others. This will either allow vendors to hone their products and services or jump in sooner and establish critical ties with suppliers, distributors, and other players in the ecosystem."

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) entry into the wearable market is still speculative, although researchers predict the company could release its own version of a smart watch sometime next year.

For more:
-See this IDC survey synopsis
-See this Computer World story

Related stories:
Luxottica Group partners with Google Glass for eyewear distribution
It's time: Google unveils 'Android Wear' watch
Google to open first US retail store in NYC
Google's SlickLogin acquisition buys sound authentication technology
Google Wallet stepping up mobile loyalty

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