Apple, Chinese manufacturers "to drive smartwatch sales"

News

Smartwatches will account for 40 percent of consumer wristworn devices within 18 months, as demand for Apple's Watch and cheaper devices from Chinese OEMs and ODMs stimulates the market.

New research from Gartner said smartwatches will become mass market devices next year with an average selling price of $150 (€115). It said Chinese manufacturers, who have driven volume in the smartphone market, will be in pole position to catch mass market sales.

It said the Apple Watch, which was revealed last week and goes on sale in 2015, will capture the high end of the market. Angela McIntyre, Research Director, said: "As with the iPhone, Apple's high-price strategy for the Watch will limit its market share; yet, with its attention to design and the user interface, we believe this product will attract many users."

However, it said there remained major concerns about the battery life of smartwatches. Apple refused to reveal just how long its Watch could last without a charge, raising fears about its battery life. Gartner said a connected smartwatch would also drain a paired smartphones. It said manufacturers were faced with a challenge about whether they should trade design for a longer lasting, but bulkier battery.

Zimmerman said that user design has substantially improved since the first generation of wearable devices. She said: "The Sony Smartwatch products the Samsung Gear were early products that received much attention in the press but less enthusiasm from consumers due to their unclear value proposition and flawed design.

"In 2014 we are seeing a few more positive developments in terms of design and user experience and we therefore expect consumers to show more interest in these products in the second half of the year."