HTC Prep Wearables, Jumps on Smart Watch Bandwagon
As of now, quite understandably, wearable devices represent a ‘nice to have’ and not a ‘must to have’ consumer purchase. However, even though – in terms of market maturity – wearables have barely left the womb, it is clear that the market will be – as per smartphones – a somewhat crowded affair. Previously, we noted that influential players such as Google, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft had made key strategic moves and were raising awareness within the wearables sector; this time around, there are increasing indications from a host of additional players within the market that the smart watch segment is going to be a fiercely competitive one. HTC is the latest to jump on the smart watch bandwagon, with CEO Peter Chou and chairwoman Cher Wang stating that wearables will be a "critical segment" for them. A wide range of players are now exploring this segment. Dell recently announced that ‘they are exploring the wearable technology segment with specific interests in the smart watch’, while ASUS and Microsoft are working on similar products with specific future possibilities. ASUS is also considering ‘the future possibilities presented by wearable gadgets, including biometrics, voice control and flexible displays’. Other players across the value chain, including Qualcomm and Intel, are also exploring the wearable smart watch segment. The list is not exhaustive by the way. One also needs to note that over the last eighteen months smartphone peripheral devices have been stocked by large retailers such as Walmart, Target and Best Buy in the US. These are all further indications of an ever more crowded, ever more competitive market place. Juniper Research believes that all these players will have a unique opportunity to take advantage of relevant and specific wearable categories or sub segments. This brings us to the question regarding how this market is going to develop over the next five years for these players – our forecasts indicate wearable hardware revenue of nearly $19 billion by 2018, compared to just $1.4 billion this year.