Smart watch market coming of age

Smart watches are now ready to become mass market goods, but still lack the technology to become full blown replacements for mobile phones, ABI Research states.
The firm predicts shipments of smart watches will hit 1.2 million in 2013, as a raft of product announcements over the past nine months begin to change consumers’ perception of the form factor. Senior analyst Joshua Flood says factors contributing to the forecast shipments include high smartphone penetration, low cost MEMS sensors, energy efficient connectivity technologies, and a strong app ecosystem.
Although not yet able to directly challenge mobile and smartphones, ABI notes a number of smart watches sporting their own operating system means the devices are moving beyond being accessories.
Watches with their own OS are likely to attract consumers by operating independently of smartphones. The sector is shaping up to be a battle ground for all the usual suspects, with Apple, Samsung and Microsoft all reportedly preparing devices.
“Smart watches that replicate the functionality of a mobile handset or smartphone are not yet commercially feasible, though the technologies are certainly being prepared,” Flood notes.