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January 28, 2015

Smart watches to outpace smart glasses this year

Even though smart glasses are likely to grow by 150% this year.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Smart glasses are on the brink of going mainstream, with sales likely to grow by 150% this year, according to research.

The study by ABI Research, a market intelligence firm, said much of the growth would be driven by increased demand in the enterprise market and public sector.

More than 90% are expected to be sold to people working in remote assistance, police and military, security, warehouse and barcode scanning, as well as in the consumer space for gaming.

ABI Research’s senior practice director Nick Spencer said: "Smart glasses were much hyped in 2014 as a smartphone replacement, largely on the back Google’s Glass product announced in early 2013."

"However, 2014 showed the use case for smart glasses is task specific, for example remote assistance, security (facial and number plate recognition), augmented reality, and virtual reality. The Google Glass generalised use case is a primary reason for the changes announced last week."

However, the research predicted that demand for smart glasses will lag behind smart watches, with sales likely to exceed 300% this year, partly due to the upcoming Apple Watch set to be released in April.

Spencer said: "The use case for general-purpose smart glasses in the consumer space is weak, especially at a technical level, where projector quality has some way to go, as does battery life along with RF components and the miniaturisation of these elements."

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He added: "Also, at a practical level, most people are not prepared to wear glasses because many simply do not normally need to, and if they do, they need specific lenses. Lastly, many glass wearers have moved to wearing contact lenses. It just seems a retrograde form-factor and a very obtrusive one for the user and general public."


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