“Android Wear will need to improve significantly in the future, and we believe it will do so.”
Over 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped in 2014 out of a total of 4.6 million smart wearable bands, yet industry analysts believe the eagerly anticipated Apple Watch realise will “dramatically grow” the market for smart bands and wearables overall.
Though the Moto 360 also remained supply constrained through Q4, industry analyst firm Canalys cites Motorola as the “clear leader” among Android Wear vendors.
LG’s round G Watch R performed “significantly better” than its original G Watch, while Asus and Sony entered the market with their own Android Wear devices.
Pebble meanwhile shipped a total of one million units from its 2013 launch through to the end of 2014 while continual software updates, more apps in its app store and price cuts in the fall helped maintain strong sales in the second half of the year.
“Samsung has launched six devices in just 14 months, on different platforms and still leads the smart band market,” says Chris Jones, VP and Principal Analyst, Canalys.
“But it has struggled to keep consumers engaged and must work hard to attract developers while it focuses on Tizen for its wearables.”
Following a completely different strategy to other vendors, Xiaomi shipped over a million units of its Mi Band, the colourful and affordable basic band, including one day of sales of over 103,000 units.
“Though the Mi Band is a lower-margin product than competing devices, Xiaomi entered the wearables market with a unique strategy,” adds Jason Low, Principal Research Analyst, Canalys.
“Its shipment volumes show how quickly a company can become a major force in a segment based solely on the size of the Chinese market. Fitbit remained the global leader in the basic wearable band market.”
All eyes on Apple…
With the wearables market reaching a crossroads during 2015, Canalys believes “all eyes are now on Apple”, which will reveal further details about the Apple Watch prior to its release in April.
“Apple made the right decisions with its WatchKit software development kit to maximise battery life for the platform, and the Apple Watch will offer leading energy efficiency,’ adds Daniel Matte, analyst, Canalys.