We’re told that “wearable tech” – the smartwatch, in particular – is the Next Big Thing, though if the Samsung Galaxy Gear is anything to go by, we’ll happily keep our wrists free and easy.
But what the hell do we know? The geniuses at NextMarket Insights reckon smartwatch sales will explode over the next few years, hitting as many as 373 million units shipped in 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is arguably the first big-name smartwatch, but even the South Koreans concede: “We’ve acknowledged that our Gear lacks something special. With more investment for user interface and user experience, Samsung devices will be better in terms of customer satisfaction.”
The problem with the Samsung Galaxy Gear in particular is that it’s little more than a “companion device” for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 2014 Edition.
However, NextMarket says we should expect a flood of standalone smartwatches with a full array of features - including calls and data-based communication.
"We believe native voice and data capabilities in smartwatches will be attractive to a segment of the market," says the brilliantly named Mike Wolf, chief analyst at NextMarket.
"Both for those who would use it in backup and lifeline scenarios, as well as those who see might see a smartwatch as a replacement for a phone in certain use cases common in the youth and active lifestyle watch segments."
Interestingly, Canalys estimated five million smartwatch shipments in 2014, which I thought was fairly optimistic, but NextMarket goes even higher - to 15 million. Who says gazing into a crystal ball isn’t an exact science?
More Wolf words: "The watch industry ships over 1 billion watches a year, and there are nearly 7 billion mobile subscribers worldwide today. We believe the smartwatch category can become a substantial market opportunity even with fairly modest penetration of the broader mobile and watch-wearing public."