Android Wear Smartwatches “Falling Short”

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Wearables market set to get a major boost from the Apple Watch, Canalys report predicts

Apple’s hugely-anticipated entry into the smartwatch market may be coming at the perfect time, as new findings have revealed that wearable running Google’s Android Wear OS are not dominating the market as once thought.

A report from analyst firm Canalys found that only around 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches – which includes likes of the Moto 360, the Sony Smartwatch and the Asus ZenWatch – were shipped in 2014.

When compared to the total number of Android smartphones shipped in 2014, this amounts to just over 0.09 percent of all new Android phones shipped last year.

smartwatchStruggling

Overall, 4.6 million ‘smart wearable bands’ were shipped in total during 2014, Canalys found, including one million units from Pebble and another million Mi units from Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi.

In contrast, however, big players such as LG and Samsung struggled to gain a foothold in what is becoming a very crowded market.

“Samsung has launched six devices in just 14 months, on different platforms and still leads the smart band market,” said Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones.

“But it has struggled to keep consumers engaged and must work hard to attract developers while it focuses on Tizen for its wearables.”

Apple Watch (2)Ripe

It seems that the stage is now set for the Apple Watch’s grand entry into the smartwatch market, with more details about the device (pictured right) set to be revealed in April.

“Apple made the right decisions with its WatchKit software development kit to maximize battery life for the platform, and the Apple Watch will offer leading energy efficiency,” said Canalys analyst Daniel Matte.

“Android Wear will need to improve significantly in the future, and we believe it will do so.”

Recent research from analyst firm Juniper Research predicted that the number of smartwatches worldwide is expected to pass 100 million within the next five years, as the range of devices on the market increases dramatically.

Currently, 2.8 million people in the UK own a wearable, according to YouGov figures, with that figure predicted to rise to 6.1 million in a year’s time as the adoption rate rises from 6 percent to 13 percent.

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