Wearable Device Ecosystem

Wearable Device Ecosystems provides a deep dive into the fast-developing market where there is no dominant paradigm in terms of form factor, ecosystem, enabling technologies or use cases.

September 1, 2014 06:48 wshi

When Nokia made the announcement on 29 August to provide a beta version HERE navigation service on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones as well as two navigation apps to Tizen-based Samsung smartwatches, we almost poured ourselves a glass of good wine to “celebrate”. It’s not so much that we’re fans of HERE and Galaxy (we are, as we are fans of all good services and devices), as the happiness to have our predictions vindicated once again.  Late last year when we penned this piece to discuss the significance of HERE’s deal with Tizen, and predicted that it might have just “opened the door at Samsung”, we got a suspicious look rather than approving nods.  Now the latest development made the “mission impossible” look very possible. 

According to the announcement, HERE will provide a full suite of navigation services exclusively to selected Galaxy smartphones, as well as provide dedicated apps to Tizen-based smartwatches from Samsung, both the existing models and the upcoming Gear S.  As suspicious as I have been with the desirability of smartwatches, the new navigation feature supplied by HERE to enable the Gear smartwatches to operate independent of the smartphones, among other features, will be a big improvement on user friendliness. For example, I would no longer need to wear a big phone on my arm (they’re getting bigger by the day) when I run outside.

HERE has a few advantages over Google Maps, not least its offline mode, and the capability to save maps of entire countries, which Nokia doesn’t miss the chance to promote.  Beyond this, the acquisition of Medio in June 2014 should enable HERE to deliver personalized map and navigation experiences to users.  And of course the very fact that this deal actually took place is significant in itself.  To call this a coup may be an overstatement, as HERE will sit side by side with Google Maps on the Galaxy smartphones.  As was highlighted in our analysis on Samsung’s content and service strategies, Samsung is bound by the agreement with Google that it has to take the whole suite of Google services.  However it certainly further boosts HERE’s chance to go horizontal to other smartphone makers than Microsoft.  Now that it has produced an Android version to showcase on the market leader , there is no reason why HERE would not go to other leading Android (both Google endorsed and independent) handset makers, after the exclusivity with Galaxy expires.

August 11, 2014 06:33 nmawston

According to new research from our WDE (Wearables) service, global smartwatch shipments grew a healthy +400% YoY in Q2 2014. The market was driven by Tizen, as Samsung migrated its smartwatch portfolio to the OS. This published report, available to clients, tracks global smartwatch shipments and marketshare by operating system by quarter for 2013 and 2014. It can be used by mobile stakeholders to track the size and growth rate of the important smartwatch market.

July 18, 2014 19:53 nmawston

According to our Wearables (WDE) research service, global smartwatch sales will grow a healthy +750% in 2014. The smartwatch is clearly a high-growth market.

Rumors abound across the industry that Microsoft / Nokia will enter the smartwatch fray for the first time in the US during October or November 2014. Talk is of a fitness tracker with 5 to 15 biometric sensors that integrate closely with Microsoft apps.

Microsoft has been here before, with its digital SPOT watch launched back in 2004. The SPOT delivered snippets of light info, such as weather forecasts, via FM radio waves. The SPOT was a flop.

What does Microsoft need to do to succeed in the smartwatch market this time around? We recommend at least three core strategies:

1. Any Microsoft smartwatch must look and feel like a traditional wristwatch. It is a proven formfactor;

2. Pricing must be keen. Our research indicates US consumers are surprisingly price-sensitive for almost all brands except Apple;

3. A high-profile fitness or sports brand should be introduced at co-launch. For example, Apple is rumored to be co-launching with Nike for its new "iWatch" portfolio.

July 17, 2014 13:34 nmawston

Wearable devices have the potential to grow into a significant consumer market, benefiting from the ubiquity of the smartphone, and the growing self-health movement; but their success, of course, is not guaranteed. With sensor-laden wearable devices there are a unique set of challenges to be overcome. In this report, available to clients, we examine five major strategic challenges associated with key wearable devices and raise questions that will need to be addressed next year and beyond.

May 18, 2014 09:12 nmawston

According to new research from our WDE (Wearables) service, global smartwatch shipments grew a healthy +250% YoY in Q1 2014. The market was driven heavily by Samsung and its Galaxy Gear model, which is outperforming all major rivals like Motorola and Pebble. This published report -- available to clients -- tracks global smartwatch shipments and marketshare by hardware vendor by quarter for 2013 and Q1 2014. It can be used by device makers, component suppliers, operators, software developers, content suppliers and other stakeholders to determine the size and growth rate of the global smartwatch market.

May 12, 2014 12:34 mwilkins

In new research from the Wearable Device Ecosystems (WDE) service looking at enabling technologies in Smartglasses, WiFi will be an important technology for the category, found in 75% of devices shipping in 2015. The technology will allow smartglass users to upload video they record on the integrated HD camera to YouTube and other social media websites.

Strategy Analytics expects WiFi-enabled smartglasses to experience growth of 240% in 2015, as the market continues to gain traction and as cellular-enabled penetration remains low amongst the segment.


This published report, available to clients now, provides global and regional forecasts on the penetration of five key enabling technologies in the smartglasses category (including Augmented Reality, GPS, and WiFi), extending out to 2018.

May 12, 2014 12:26 mwilkins

According to new research from the Wearable Device Ecosystems (WDE) service looking at enabling technologies in Smartwatches, Bluetooth will be a key technology going forward. The importance of the short-range wireless technology is critical in that it is the conduit between the smartwatch and the smartphone.

Strategy Analytics expects Bluetooth-enabled smartwatches to experience growth of 160% in 2015 in part due to Buetooth being a must-have technology and from organic market growth fuelled by the entrance of major players.


This published report, available to clients, provides global and regional forecasts on the penetration of five enabling technologies (including Bluetooth, Cellular, and USB) in the smartwatch category, looking out to 2018.

April 17, 2014 09:46 mwilkins

In a new report from the Wearable Device Ecosystems (WDE) service, we discuss findings from a recent consumer survey indicating that current wearable device pricing is considerably out of sync with consumer expectations. Overcoming such a mismatch will require consumer education to the value and benefits of wearable devices and price adjustment.

The data comes from a Strategy Analytics survey on Consumer Attitudes to Wearables, conducted across six major consumer electronics countries including the US and China, in Q1 2014.

This published report, available to clients, discusses the key findings from the survey on consumer attitudes to wearables.


April 16, 2014 09:27 nmawston

According to a new report from our Wearable Device Ecosystems (WDE) service, wearables are going to come in all shapes and sizes during the next decade. Deciding which wearable device types will be operator-friendly in such a fragmented ecosystem will be challenging. Carriers, like T Mobile and others, will need to "sort the wheat from the chaff".

Smartglasses are one wearable-type that we believe will help mobile operators increase their ARPU in the future. This published report, available to clients, explains why and by how much.

March 26, 2014 09:16 sbicheno

Facebook - the social networking giant - is acquiring Oculus VR - a specialist in consumer virtual reality (VR) technology.  According to Strategy Analytics' WDE service the overlap may not seem obvious at first, but initially the acquisition is expected to focus on VR gaming, with Facebook looking to build on its position as a leading casual and social gaming platform.

Further down the line, however, Oculus headsets may be used to enhance the Facebook experience by creating virtual environments in which users can carry out their social activities and even further down the line this acquisition may be viewed as a direct response to Google Glass, with the potential for a Facebook augmented reality platform.

All of this would appear to be good news for the wearable device market, with leading platforms looking to augment their user experience through sensors, displays and other supplementary technology worn about the person. The more companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft continue to invest in this kind of technology, the more demand there is likely to be for wearables.