back to article Worldwide smartwatch shipments predicted to top 5 million next year

Every so often a press release passes by The Reg's gadget desk which just begs to be filed away and checked against future reality. Today's example: the market-watchers at Canalys ("Insight. Innovation. Impact.") predict that over five million smartwatches will ship worldwide next year. "Smart watches will be the most important …

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So....

I'm guessing they've finally heard the rumours about the iWatch and want to be seen as the "market influencers" and "market predictors". The problem with this is no one ever really calls them on it when they are wrong.

Maybe El Reg should add the disclaimer "and remember, these people also predicted the 5m rise of the smart watch" to any future PR from them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So....

Like any good (or bad as it may be) 'analyst' company, if they find themselves on too many wrong calls they will just shut down and start up again under a new name.

After all how hard can it be to fire off a few PR e-mails every now and then, based solely on whatever crossed your mind when you were taking a morning dump.

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Anonymous Coward

"Google and Microsoft must execute more successfully than they have done with their tablet platforms"

WOW and I thought Android had done a fairly good job with tablets ! Clearly not good enough according to this pixe-dust outfit.

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Facepalm

Execution

"Google and Microsoft must execute (sic) more successfully than they have done with their tablet platforms"

Exterminate. Exterminate. They must be destroyed.

Where's William Hartnell when you need him?

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Anonymous Coward

Prepare to eat your words...

5 Million isn't that many for a world-wide market assuming Apple launch their iWatch gizmo. And if they do, then everyone and their uncle will follow suit and launch their version.

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I smell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoZ7JXkv6_o

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Anonymous Coward

Swiss watchmakers are quaking in their boots...

or perhaps not : http://gadgets.ndtv.com/others/news/swiss-watchmakers-keep-cool-in-wait-for-apples-smart-watch-391924

They even allowed Apple to visit.

This is a smart watch:

http://www.omegawatches.com/collection/seamaster/aqua-terra-150-m/co-axial-annual-calendar/23110432206001

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Re: Swiss watchmakers are quaking in their boots...

And similar to what I treated myself to a few years ago. Marvelous Swiss engineering.

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Ah, just like 3D TV

Massive increase in sales predicted? Bound to be a runaway success story then.

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FAIL

Re: Ah, just like 3D TV

Standard phrase for whatever the Hell they're pushing this Quarter.

"Smart watches will be the most important new product category in consumer electronics since the iPad defined the market for tablets,"

Eh, Any clown can just stand up and announce that 'X' will be the iPad killer. Funny though, these are the same type of guys that said the iPad would never sell. "There is no market for touch tablets in the PC market"

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so just like watches now

most people don;t wear one as they have a mobile. its only the twats with money to burn of hipsters who will be wearing them

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WTF?

Re: so just like watches now

"its only the twats with money to burn of hipsters who will be wearing them"

They will? I can see hipsters rapidly heading for unhipness.

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500k for this year

...seems entirely plausible. Pebble are claiming 190k direct pre-orders (plus Kickstarter ones this equates to about 275k shipping in 2013 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android/posts/536005). They are also selling through BestBuy in the US.

5 million next year though? If a big company gets involved and spends big marketing dollars (and has a product in the right price range) then it's possible. Otherwise it's going to be tough.

Full disclosure: I have a Pebble, and I love it.

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Paris Hilton

But I thought 2014....

... was supposed to be The Year of the Linux Desktop???

I'm confused...

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Linux

Re: But I thought 2014....

Yes you will wear the Desktop on your wrist.

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It's not about the hardware... entirely

Personally I think that the money will be in the OS, integration with existing smartphones and to a smaller extent the ability to integrate a 'common' hardware into stylistically inclined devices. I know very few people that wear a watch based on its functionality, in fact the functionality is so secondary in some cases that reading them ends up being more time consuming than checking out your phone...

If they're not stylish then they're not going to sell in my opinion - unless you're going to be that guy/girl that is already wearing your Google Glasses and ascribe to the hipster Apple device toting individualistic masses (yeah that's right you 'individuals' - you all look the same and demonstrate the same lack of imagination as all your sailor tattooed mates)...

Yep - there is no way in hell that I will be wearing a 'Google/Apple/Microsoft' watch with any sense of pride or misplaced feeling of trend setting unless they can pull of a stylistic coup - something that Apple hasn't managed in 6-7 years...

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Re: It's not about the hardware... entirely

"... ascribe to the hipster Apple device toting individualistic masses (yeah that's right you 'individuals' - you all look the same and demonstrate the same lack of imagination as all your sailor tattooed mates)...

Yep - there is no way in hell that I will be wearing a 'Google/Apple/Microsoft' watch with any sense of pride or misplaced feeling of trend setting unless they can pull of a stylistic coup - something that Apple hasn't managed in 6-7 years..."

Just thought I'd like to see those words in a space of their own, as I'm only allowed one upvote.

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Anonymous Coward

Shipped to the Disposal and Recycling Center

i assume counts...

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I'll believe this when...

Intel announces that their latest Atom part runs all TICKTOCK benchmarks better than ARM-based watches,

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May I dare to disagree

When the original watches came out, they were a runaway success. Eventually, almost every person in developed countries had one on their wrist. Watches have now been superseded for most people by mobile phones, which provide the same functionality as a watch, plus lots more. However, they are not convenient in every situation, as the watch was: they need to be carried in a hand, or in a pocket. Sometimes you cannot afford to do this. They need to be switched on to access the most basic functionality...a lot more manipulation and manoeuvring is required, than with a watch. Anyone using a smartphone while doing manual work, or sport, will surely concur. The question is, can someone make a viable "smart watch". It would have to be somewhat different from the concept used to operate the smartphones. For instance, it would have to be much smaller, and the battery would have to last much longer. But it could be quite popular, for certain functionality. Imagine: time, calendar, map, navigation, compass, altimeter, voice calls, SMS, photography, filming, basic e-mail, camera-powered searches...

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Re: May I dare to disagree

If the form is a classic watch it brings its own manipulation and manouvering problems - one handed operation but still requiring the commitment of both arms. The only real benefit I can see is that pockets are not needed. A big downside is going to be robustness and in particular waterproofing. The smartest watches you can currently buy are probably dive computers and I really don't see those guys buying into this stuff any time soon.

Otherwise what have we got - at the simple end step counters and stopwatches, and at the more complex end vital sign monitoring. There is no indication that any of the potential manufacturers have actually thought of a real use - this is looking like an answer waiting for a question. They also have a massive problem on price point - just how much can they get mugs to pay for a glorified stop-watch.

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Re: May I dare to disagree

Watches have now been superseded for most people by mobile phones

I doubt that. In fact, I'd bet that worldwide watch sales make worldwide mobile phone sales look laughable.

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Re: May I dare to disagree

There is no indication that any of the potential manufacturers have actually thought of a real use - this is looking like an answer waiting for a question.

Is that not case with tablets then? When they first came out, what did they do that a laptop couldn't? Other than being slightly more portable? Maybe if the watch can beam a screen projection onto another surface, you'd still be able to view amusing cat videos on it?

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@dogged

You can doubt that all you want to. I haven't warn a watch since my employer started routinely providing me with a cell phone more than 12 years ago. A while back we did a spot check on gaming night - only 1 watch amongst the 4 men in the room and 1 for the woman.

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Re: May I dare to disagree

I agree. I can certainly see it being useful for notifications (which I believe things like the Pebble will do) - I still wear a watch because I like knowing the time at a glance, without having to get my phone out (especially if I'm somewhere in a hurry). When I'm out, it's easy to miss a phone or text, so it'd be useful to see that at a glance too. Other potential uses include sat-nav instructions, which can be harder to hear when outside (yes, I use it when walking - way better and faster than having to look at a map), or being able to pause or skip music tracks without having to dig my phone out.

But it needs to have good battery life, and needs to be as readable in sunlight as a watch (I see the Pebble uses e-ink displays which helps with both of these). And I have no interest in using it to browse the Internet or anything else like that on a tiny screen, when I'd rather use my phone. I also wouldn't want one that's just a device in its own right, rather than being basically a remote control for a phone.

Also I'm not sure if I'm interested enough to pay upwards of £100 for one. Of course some people do pay that much for a watch, but that's the market who pay for classic watches and won't even go near a digital watch.

I'd also like it to look fairly normal and not "I've got an expensive smartwatch-thing". I think the biggest hurdle Apple will have in making one is working out how to fit a big logo on the device like they do with every other product they make...

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Meh

Re: @dogged

You can doubt that all you want to. I haven't warn a watch since my employer started routinely providing me with a cell phone more than 12 years ago. A while back we did a spot check on gaming night - only 1 watch amongst the 4 men in the room and 1 for the woman.

Because anecdotes are indisputable evidence, right?

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Re: May I dare to disagree

"a big logo on the device"

...and that is the biggest problem. I don't want a watch of any kind with an obvious logo on it. Least of all a glowing Apple logo that'l; eat battery time or "kiddy" colours from Google or MS.

A discreet name/logo as on most current watches is all that would be acceptable to me.

The other deal breaker will be interoperability. There's no way I'll buy a smartwatch of any brand if it's locked to that brand or OS of smartphone. There's no good reason by a smartwatch should not be able to communicate with any smartphone via a native app.

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Meh

Makes sense.

2014: 5 million smartwatches sold.

2015: 5 million secondhand smartwatches flogged for peanuts on eBay once the hype's worn off.

How much does this "industry analysis" crystal-ball-gazing gig pay?

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Smart watch? What on earth for?

Most people with smart phones don't use the calendar, sync contacts, etc. etc. That's the reason that the PDA market never really grew very much, only a few dedicated hardcore users were ever motivated to get the most out of the functionality on offer.

No one is ever going to use a smart watch for watching movies, web browsing or playing games (where's the battery life going to come from????? How big is this watch going to be?!?!). So at best it's going to be a PDA on a wrist, only probably not as useful as a PDA.

Will it be a market dud? Well, a lot of people have bought a lot of questionably expensive Apple hardware for no reason other than the logo. I wouldn't be surprised if they sell a big load of them over a short period of time.

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Pedometer, I suspect. And remote control for your phone, maybe. Both of these are useful functions but hardly world-shaking.

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It's for RFID

Using your phone for RFID payments is pointless because it's in your pocket, and if you have to get it out of your pocket you might as well get your wallet out instead. RFID belongs in a watch, so you can just push your hand close to the sensor until it vibrates to let you know it worked.

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Re: It's for RFID

Right up until you have to keep your watch in your pocket because the RFID thieves can see you coming...

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Re: Smart watch? What on earth for?

While I concur 100% on the sentiment, Apple have made a ton of cash on crap I wouldn't buy.

Never bet against stupid. There were a bunch of people who made obscene amounts of money selling pet rocks back in the 80s. Not a viable market these days.

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xyz

The only way it'll work is...

hold up your left arm in front of you, palm facing you, now imagine a 100mm or so 16:9 screen in "portrait" (i.e parallel with your arm) on the part of your wrist facing you.(TM) Anything else will make you look like a plank...and it had better be as thin as hell. I do get the smell that this is a "great" idea thought up by accountants and it'll crash'n'burn

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Anonymous Coward

Waiting for the inevitable

Can bet there will be an increase in expensive smart watches snatched or otherwise stolen from their owners wrists for at least the first year until they become mundane on places like eBay

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Wam

Fitness Market

I do think a smart watch could decimate the sales of fitness watches / heart rate monitors from the likes of Polar and Garmin - these aren't exactly cheap, and a smart watch could do more besides. This market is somewhat limited though.

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I wear a watch all the time :-) I wear a watch and a wedding ring, so please don't think I use a lot of jewellery, would I replace it with a smart watch, I doubt it, like many that appreciate a good watch i wear it for the piece of engineering that it is, it tells the time and looks good.

Therefore a smart watch to replace my mid range watch (which cost about a $1500) is going to have to be well engineered, look good & tell the time, but also have a big advantage over my current watch.

But that is just me, many that don't wear a watch for the above reasons will probably adopt a smart watch and 5 million world wide is not a lot, the Raspberry pi a single product with two distributors managed 1 million units in it's first year.

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Anonymous Coward

market-watchers

for the watch market. Jesus...

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N2

But

I still have my 20 year old Tag Heuer which will probably go for at least another 20 years & the church clock when I'm not wearing it.

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Gimp

Profile of enthusiastic early adoper -->

I think the title makes my point.

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Still using the Omega seamaster my grandpa bought in 1962, manual. Doesn't need any upgrades, independent of electricity, doesn't report my position, buyinghabits or sexual preferences to the NSA and has all the functionality a watch needs i.e. shows the time.

We need more dumb devices and smarter people, not the other way around.

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I wear a watch, it cost me Fifty quid about 20 years ago., I change the battery maybe once every two years.

I can't understand people who say that they use their mobile to tel the time, 'cos it's easier.

By the time I've remembered which pocket my phone is in, removed it from the pocket, turned it the right way up, and pressed the button to turn the screen on, I've wasted a good 30 seconds, compared to just glancing at my wrist.

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Tosser

Every time I imagine someone (Stephen Fry) wearing an iWatch I see someone looking like a tosser. Is there any way of wearing one of these things without embarrassment?

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"Smart watches will be the most important new product category in consumer electronics since the iPad defined the market for tablets"

Stopped reading there.

The only thing that changed was the vast amounts of media coverage given *before it was announced, let alone released*.

Other than that, what we've seen is a natural evolution of smartphones and media players that we had for years (Android tablets were released shortly before ipads, but were often called "media players" instead). The idea of "one 3.5" device and one 10" device" now looks laughable, in a world dominated by 5" to 7" Android devices.

Similarly, I can see the smartwatches like the Pebble or those from Sony being ignored, until Apple release something similar later, and the media hail it as a revolution.

The thing that made today's tablets possible was advances in technology - CPUs from ARM/Samsung, screens from LG/Samsung, advances in memory storage. Similarly that will be what makes smartwatches possible and popular - not because one company decided to make them.

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Notifications are it, I reckon

If I can 100% silence my phone and have a little silent buzz through my watch to notify me, maybe with a preview of what's happening on the watch, then that'd be great.

But if you can just make a little circle that I put between my watch and my wrist that just vibrates when my phone tells it to, that would be awesome.

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Re: Notifications are it, I reckon

"But if you can just make a little circle that I put between my watch and my wrist that just vibrates when my phone tells it to, that would be awesome."

Yes! In fact, with that fantastic new vibration technology maybe one day they could make the phone vibrate whilst silent, and have an indicator light to show there's a call text or email, then .....oh.

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Thumb Up

A lot of commentators seem to have a shaky idea of what a smart watch might be, if only some news website had written a review of some of the current crop...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/22/roundup_smartwatches/

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Everything that would be usefull in a SmartWatch ..

can be miniaturized into a SmartRing™ .. that would normally display the time ..

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