I have been wearing a pebble watch for nearly two months and can vouch for its utility and outright coolness. Especially on the golf course - using Free Caddie to measure the distance to the pin. Wow - this is a no brainer. And then there is the bike computer app - Pebble Bike - another freebee that makes the whole idea worthwhile.
Business Insider Australia reported on the prospects for the smart watch industry:
For years, some iPod users have worn those devices on their wrists as a watch. Now, millions of consumers will have a chance to own a bonafide smart watch.
The mass-market test for smart watches has arrived. The Samsung Galaxy Gear will arrive in the U.S. in October, and ATT has become the first carrier to offer the Pebble smart watch. Speculation surrounding a so-called Apple iWatch pegs its release date around mid-2014.
In a new proprietary forecast for the smart watch market, BI Intelligence has published a half-dozen charts and datasets illustrating the potential for smart watches within the wearable computing space and mobile.
Here are the dynamics and numbers driving the emerging smart watch market:
- We forecast 91.6 million smartwatch units sold globally in 2018. With an average selling price of about $US100, that translates to a $US9.2 billion market by 2018. Subscribers can download a spreadsheet and charts that show year-by-year estimates and the numerical assumptions behind our market forecast.
- Through just the first half of 2013, the Kickstarter-launched Pebble watch has shipped 93,000 smart watches and has taken over 275,000 pre-orders.
- A mass-market smart watch would be the first new mobile device since the smartphone to upgrade or enhance a ubiquitous consumer product — the wristwatch. A watch with an Internet connection isn’t as alien a concept as Google Glass.
- And watches are a huge addressable market. It varies by age and gender, but consumer surveys reveal a slight majority of the U.S. and global populations still wear a watch, around 55%.
- Even if only a minority of watch-wearers upgrade to Internet-connected and app-centric smart watches, that’s still a huge market and a boon for growth-hungry tech players and app makers.
- In the future, about one in 20 smartphones will be paired in some way with smart watches.
- The market in mainstream, wearable computing has so far been anchored by smart fitness bracelets, and pioneered by Pebble, but mass-market smart watches will absorb some of the fitness wearables market, and become the wearables category-leader for the ordinary consumer.
- Smart watches will have screens, even if they’re tiny, and potentially run software that allow them to serve as a robust extension to smartphone operating systems and apps.
I vouch for the smart watch concept for personal consumption and for VC investments. It's a no brainer sure thing.