While devices like the Pebble smartwatch are currently billed as niche devices, a new report from ABI Research claims that things are going to change in a hurry when it comes to smartwatch market penetration. The forecast suggests that by the year’s end, 1.2 million smartwatches will have shipped.
ABI says that with more folks switching to smartphones, it is likely that at least some of these folks will be interested in the idea of getting notifications and other data from their phone onto a watch.
Further, ABI believes that there will likely be four categories of smart watches in the near future: the notification type, voice operational smart watches, hybrid smart watches and completely independent smart watches.
The notification type is simply a watch that offers alerts for incoming calls, messages and other notifications. Voice operational smart watches differ in that that can start and stop calls and issue commands using voice.
Next we have hybrids, which combine notifications with voice functionality. They also have their own primitive OS and might have limited functionality when not synced to a smartphone.
And then there are independent smart watches. According to ABI, this could end up being devices like the iWatch, Samsung Galaxy watch and Microsoft’s rumored watch. These devices would have their own operating systems and likely their own apps and other features. While independent from your smartphone, they could still likely sync to a device to pull notifications, though.
While ABI’s predictions and category breakdown are interesting, keep in mind that it is all speculation at this point. What do you think of the idea of a smart watch, is it something you could see yourself using? Conversely, are you interested in other wearable computing devices like Google Glass?[ source ]