Google introduces the Android Wear operating system for wearable devices like smartwatches
During the recent I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google (GOOGL) launched an Android Wear operating system specifically designed for smartwatches and other wearable devices. Google mentioned that most people check their smartphones more than 150 times a day, which means they spend a lot of time unlocking, swiping, and entering their password just to read a text or look for some information.
Google claims to save a lot of user time through the use of a smartwatch. The company officially launched two new smartwatches from LG (LGEAF) and Samsung (SSNLF), which are called the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. Google also mentioned that it will launch the Moto 360 smartwatch from Motorola—acquired by Lenovo (LNVGY) recently—on Android Wear in the coming months.
The wearable devices market has huge potential
According to a report from IDC and as the chart above shows, the wearable devices market will more than triple to 19 million units in 2014 and then grow to 112 million units by 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (or CAGR) of 78%. No wonder so many tech players are looking to enter this market—especially when the smartphone and tablet market is showing signs of a slowdown.
According to a different report from IDC, the smartphone market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11% in the next five years—much lower than the 39% unit growth it achieved in 2013 compared to 2012. The same scenario applies to the tablet market. According to another report from IDC, the tablet market showed healthy growth of 52% in 2013 compared to 2012, but it now expects the tablet market to grow only 12% in 2014. So the wearable device market is considered the next growth area in the broader mobile device industry.
Apple could launch multiple versions of its smartwatch this year
The wearable device market is certainly heating up. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple (AAPL) could launch multiple versions of its smartwatch, called the iWatch, by October this year. Although Apple is late to this market, with Samsung and Google having already entered, it could bring innovation to the smartwatch market. Apple is known to bring innovation to any market it enters, which is why the iPhone and iPad have been so successful despite coming late to the market.