Commentary

Wearables & Messaging: Up Close & Personal

Even as more wearables become smart, the Apple Watch looks to be the top wrist device for the foreseeable future.

Of the top five smart wrist wear operating systems shipped this year, Apple will account for 58% of the market, according to the latest IDC Tracker report on wearable technology.

But Android is rapidly growing, and expected to account for 38% of the market in four years with Apple dropping to 47%.

So-called smart wearables will surpass the lower-priced, less functional basic wearables in three years.

Today’s wearables are essentially a smartphone accessory primarily focused on notifications.

For example, while my Fitbit provides a bit of information directly on the device, my Jawbone UP3 requires a smartphone to see any data. The tradeoffs are that the Fitbit has to be a little larger to display the info. But in both cases, the richness of data can only be viewed on the phone.

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IDC sees the tracking device market evolving to a more advanced wearable computer capable of doing more processing on its own.

But no matter who is leading the wrist device competition, the market is growing.

By smart wristware operating system, a total of 24 million devices are expected to be shipped this year, tripling to 85 million in 2019. Of those, 40 million are expected to be Apple devices and 33 million Android.

As more consumers wear devices that don’t totally rely on smartphones, a new marketing platform will be created.

Fitness tracking technology already allows for third-party add-ons, such as apps that provide various services using the data being accumulated by the wearable device.

Wrist screens can take that to a totally different dimension.

Consumers already are being conditioned to receive messaging from their wearable.

Today it may be a reminder to stand up since you’ve been sitting for an hour, or a congratulation message on reaching a daily activity goal.

Wearables are up close and personal. And so will be the messaging. 

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