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Smartwatches in general, Android Wear in particular tipped to grow through 2019

According to IDC forecasts, Apple Watches should retain their dominance over the next four years, but Androids will experience “market-beating” growth, as basic activity trackers are expected to slowly lose steam.


Never an exact science when it comes to rapidly shifting branches of the tech landscape, specific market predictions issued by research firms like the International Data Corporation feel that much harder to get right concerning fledgling, shaky segments.

Granted, essentially everyone agrees wearable devices have a great future ahead of them, but just how great no one knows. Based on current trends, a thorough analysis of customer needs, and a whole lot of guesswork, the IDC ventures 2019 shipment and share numbers for watchOS, Android Wear, Pebble OS, RTOS, and Tizen.

Starting from top of the totem pole to bottom, the first-generation Apple Watch will reportedly rack up 13.9 million unit sales for 2015, enough for a precious, early and hefty lead over the combined tally of Android Wear gadget manufacturers.

Namely, we’re talking a huge 58.3 percent slice of the pie seized by Cupertino, compared to 17.4 as far as Google’s partners are concerned, then 8.7 for bronze medalist Pebble, 8.3 for makers of RTOS (Real-Time Operating System)-running smartwatches, and 6.7 under Samsung’s Tizen belt.

Mind you, those are the “smart” wristwear ranks, with fitness trackers left out of the equation, given they should bow out of the spotlight by 2018. Speaking of the distant future, the intelligent timepiece chart will likely sustain only marginal transitions in 2019, when Apple is still predicted to rule supreme, followed by Android OEMs and, surprise, surprise, RTOS producers.

What may drastically change is the market share gap between the gold and silver medalists, as Android W will purportedly surge to 38.4 percent, while watchOS might drop to 47.4 percentage points.

Converted in shipment figures, the two scores would sit at 40.3 and 32.6 million copies respectively, which sounds like remarkable progress for an industry currently audited at just 23.8M overall. That 23.8 mil count in turn should rise to an impressive 85.1. When adding low-cost, “dumb” devices in the mix, we get 28.9 million unit sales in 2014, 76.1M in 2015, and more than 173 mil (!!!) four years from now, if forecasts pan out.

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