Cellular smartwatches to be boosted by new hardware, software, claims new report

News

Smartwatches with cellular connectivity will account for more than 50 million shipments by 2020, as more manufacturers back emerging technologies, new research has claimed.

Canalys has forecast that 7.5 million cellular smartwatches will be shipped this year, with the market set to grow at a compound annual rate of 63 percent between now and 2020.

Analysts said companies like Samsung, LG and Apple would help drive the boom. Smartwatches running on the Tizen or Android Wear operating systems already support cellular connectivity.

Samsung's Galaxy Gear S2 classic 3G became the first smart watch with the GSMA-backed e-SIM specification in May.

Analyst Daniel Matte said: "The...eSIM specification will enable more independent smart watches with a smoother user experience around cellular connectivity. Users will soon be able to easily choose among cellular providers and pay for monthly service. Many more smart watches with LTE and GPS/GNSS will also be released this year, thanks to the availability of new LTE Category 1 chipsets."

The boom year will be 2017, Canalys predicted, as additional health and fitness sensors, new kinds of activity tracking and improvements in battery life improve the quality of smartwatches on the market.

Matte added he expects the app ecosystems on both Apple and Android devices to improve in the medium term as both hardware and software improves.

Research into the wearables sector by Ericsson found consumers are most keen on safety and security features for wearables.

One in three smartphone users said they expected to be using five wearable devices by 2020.