While the smart watch segment remains at an embryonic stage, shipments of the so-called high-end “multi-function” category of the devices are expected to reach 36 million a year by 2018, compared to just 1 million this year, according to a report from UK-based analyst firm, Juniper Research.
The report defines multi-function smart watches as premium products, thereby differentiating them from existing products such as the Pebble and the Sony Smart Watch.
The report found that shipments of “app-enabled” smart watches will be driven by a new “multi-function” segment capable of performing functions such as tracking fitness and sports activities, payments and ticketing. The multi-function segment will be propelled by the emergence of players such as Apple and Samsung, according to Juniper Research.
However, the report noted that both smart watch categories – dashboard/console and multi-function – will only appeal to a niche demographic when compared to tablet and smartphone and the market potential will be comparatively limited.
The report suggests that the entrance of Apple and Samsung into the smartwatch sector – as suggested by recent trademarks and patents – will help to validate the category and act as a catalyst for other competitors to enter the space.
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