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The most exciting trend in electronics is by far the wearable device market. Like the sci-fi movies we’ve all grown up dreaming of, it’s almost too good to be true - yet it’s becoming a reality. The idea itself isn’t new. First established with the development of the smartphone, we now live in a society that is fueled by the desire to consistently improve human life with technology. This is one of the big movements leading to the arrival of smart watches, fitness trackers, virtual reality headsets and more. As society becomes more intelligent, the thought of immersing oneself with the latest wearable device has become more exciting, and people are finally ready to embrace the future.
Here’s a quick break down of where the industry is now and what we can expect from the wearable device market in 2017.
Where do We Stand Now?
The wearable device market has begun to make a name for itself in the global technology industry. As gartner.com reports: “274.6 million wearable electronic devices will be sold worldwide in 2016, an increase of 18.4 percent from 232.0 million units in 2015.” We take a look at the brand Fitbit and the numbers are there to prove the strength of this movement. As you may already know, Fitbit sells fitness trackers and products that improve a user’s health by tracking his or her activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep. According to The Wall Street Journal regarding the company in 2016, “Sales surged to $586.5 million from $400.4 million a year earlier, as the company sold 5.7 million fitness-tracking devices…” The confidence in this trend is off the charts, and rightfully so. As we become more self-aware of our health, these devices become more fundamental in our day-to-day activities.
Taking a look at the Apple smart watch available for sale, the story is a little different. According to Fortune, “Apple is still the smartwatch leader, having shipped 1.1 million devices in the third quarter and owning 41.3% of the overall market. However, it’s shipments declined 71.6% in the third quarter, from the 3.9 million smartwatches it shipped in 2015 during the same period.” If Apple, who owns the biggest market share for wearable devices, is seeing a decline in sales, there may be some stagnancy.
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However, there is a great amount of upside with virtual reality. In early October, PlayStation recently released their version of an augmented reality helmet. As PushSquare reports: “On both the US and UK Amazon pages, the headset’s launch bundle and core headset have both sold out completely, with no restock date set for either country.” You add this with the popularity of both the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, and you can make understand the positive direction the industry is moving in.
Why do People Buy These Things?
Because they’re so cool! And also, the benefits of wearable devices are pretty apparent. The fitness tracking ability on most smart watches and bands give the user information about their health that they would normally not have accessible to them. For example, the Fitbit Surge can track steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, sleep monitoring, heart rate, and much more. People that are active and health conscious see this product as a large development in monitoring one’s well being. The notification functionality is also relevant. Something simple like receiving a phone call or text can be alerted to someone wearing a pair of smart glasses or a smart watch.
Society also correlates a wearable device as something that’s fun and contemporary. Having the latest technology and being a trendsetter is awesome. People want to be at the head of our evolution, being at the forefront human ingenuity is a big deal. It’s exciting. And as our world quickly changes, the early adapters are eager to change with it.
What to Expect in the Future of Wearable Devices
As advancements in wearable technologies become more readily available to engineers and software programmers, we will continue to see cool new gadgets. Let’s take a peak into what 2017 will bring us:
· Microsoft HoloLens: Microsoft’s self-proclaimed “first fully self-contained holographic computer” is the virtual reality helmet that has everyone buzzing. Containing more power than an average laptop, the HoloLens has hardware capable of computing a high level of processes. With built in speakers, adjustable fit, and sensor fusion, the headset will be bring about an enormous amount of attention. The only downside? The $3000 price tag.
· Samsung Gear S3: The next line of Samsung Gear smart watches and the biggest competitor to the Apple Watch 2, Samsung Gear S3 has everyone’s expectations on the line. Bluetooth calling functionality, bezel scrolling, built-in GPS, long-lasting battery, and fitness tracking capabilities give the wearable device a strong chance in capturing some of the potential market share.
· Blocks Modular Smart Watch: The world’s first modular smartwatch has everyone intrigued. A fully loaded smartwatch with a gyroscope, pedometer, accelerometer, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity is more than enough to peak the interest of tech followers and early adapters alike. You can customize your watch by choosing and attaching modules (which come in the form of watch wrist links) that fit best into your daily lifestyle. These modules include things like a camera, contactless payment, stress level module, and much more.
Looking farther into the future, implanted technology is no longer just for the thrillers. The advancement of chip readers embedded into the skin isn’t far off. Google Glass tanked like a bag of rocks, but surely another lens application will be re-invented in the near future. Imagine being able to take photos and capture memories with a blink of an eye. Turning on your car with the snap of your fingers. Taking a call, without having to touch a device at all. The future possibilities are endless, and with the doors cracked open, it won’t be long until our world is flooded with a wearable device market that can handle just about any of our daily functions.
What does the next 5 years hold? Who can tell. But one thing we know, we’re excited. Are you ready?