The battle for the nation’s wrist-space has reached fever pitch with the imminent arrival of the Apple ‘iWatch’. Mobile manufacturers are throwing their hat into the ring in a bid to get body real estate in the wearables war
Apple’s smartwatch announcement will happen later this afternoon. It is expected to fire up interest in wearable technology and kickstart the entire smartwatch market. Tomorrow, the Wearable Technology Show begins at London’s ExCel and organisers were proud to announce Stan Kinsey, president of Martian smartwatches, as a keynote speaker for the Connected Living stream. Kinsey will no doubt provide some expert comment on the wearables industry and the prospects for smartwatches.
“The Wearable Technology Show opens the morning after the Apple Watch press conference when curiosity and desire for wearables will be at an all-time high and all eyes will be on this industry,” said John Weir, COO of the show organisers Evolve. “The market is young but it’s already estimated to be worth $14bn and analysts believe this will rise to over $70bn by 2024. This is no flash in the pan fad.
“Wearables are here to stay and we are about to see them become more intrinsic to our lives – our health, wellbeing and entertainment. We are also about to see them move from mainly consumer applications to having a much bigger impact on industry. 2015 has already proved to be a fascinating year for wearables and we can’t wait to see how it continues to play out.”
This year’s event features 200 speakers on subjects including performance sports, connected living, internet of things, augmented reality, payments and retail, smart textiles and medicine. Keynotes include Duncan Bradley (head of high performance design at McLaren Applied Technologies), Ashutosh Tomar (principal engineer at Jaguar Landrover Research), Philip Oldham (head of marketing at Samsung – who will close the event with a look at where wearable technology is heading), and Jamie Heywood (director at Amazon).
LG and Huawei watches
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the weekend, smartwatches from LG and Huawei were unveiled, with press opinion centred around the fact that both companies were looking to put a halt on the juggernaut of publicity surrounding the Apple watch. These are two launches that demand attention in their own right, not least because they are polished fashion items with superior build quality.
LG’s Watch Urbane comes in two versions – Android-wear and a souped-up version with 4G and its own operating system. Meanwhile the Huawei watch has drawn remarks about its stylish design, with tech blogs calling it the best-looking Android-wear watch launched to date.
BBC technology desk editor Leo Kellon said the smartwatch market had been relatively flat in 2014, with only 720,000 Android-wear watches sold worldwide, but that sales would grow rapidly in 2015 following Apple’s iWatch launch. Harsh on the makers of distinguished offerings like the LG Urbane and Huawei’s sapphire crystal display watch, but Apple continues to hold sway when it comes to device design. Ultimately Kellon thinks collective sales will benefit from the buzz created by the Apple watch.