The smartwatch market is getting a bit more complicated.
Since the Apple Watch launched in 2014, the common perception of smartwatches was that they could do a lot more than just tell time.
Juniper Research defines a smartwatch as a wrist-based wearable that emulates traditional watch designs, as well as providing additional digital functionality.
However, in a new forecast, the research firm now divides smartwatches into two categories.
The first category comprises display smartwatches that have a digital display and may run an on-device operating system, such as Apple Watch or Android Wear.
The second category involves hybrid watches, which have analogue faces and provide limited connected functions, such as step tracking or notifications. Examples of hybrid watches are Fossil Q Hybrid watches, MyKronoz ZeWatch and Withings Activite.
The way the market is shaping up is that there is no one main driver of the watches.
For example, the most important smartwatch applications are all over the map, such as fitness (34%), communication (30%), maps (28%), health (28%) and social media (16%), according to the Juniper report.
Emerging out of all of this is the hybrid smartwatch.
The new forecast has 80 million hybrid smartwatches shipping by 2022, an increase of 460% from an estimated 14 million last year,
The most recent IDC numbers put smartwatch shipments at 72 million units overall by 2021.
Shipments of display smartwatches will begin to slow in key markets next year, according to Juniper.
The key is that there will be a pretty even split between hybrid and display smartwatches with the hybrids longer battery life appealing to a larger audience than display smartwatches, according to the forecast.
The hot smartwatches of the future just won’t necessarily have to be as smart as smartwatches have been perceived for some time.
Future owners of hybrid smartwatches essentially will be able to wear a timepiece with a foot in the past and a foot in the future.