Despite a pretty low consumer interest for wearable devices in 2013 compared to standard smartphones and tablets, manufacturers are still pushing hard for a wearable device market, and 2014 is going to be a key year for the industry. A lot of important milestones should be reached this year for wearables, and this should open up a lot of potential for developers looking to develop wearable apps.
Below we’ve pointed out some of the key things that are likely to happen to the wearables market in 2014.
Focus Will Be On Smart Watches
Whilst the first mainstream mention of wearable devices was related to Google Glass, consumer appeal for this product will not be reached for a long time, if not at all. In fact, the idea behind wearing smart headwear seems a little stigmatized at this point in time, and even the concept behind owning a smartwatch seems a little far-fetched for the average person.
However, smartwatches are a concept that will be more easily grasped than any other wearables, and because of this, a lot of focus will be put on smartwatches instead of other devices.
Fitness and Planner Apps Will Be The Biggest Winners
If you take a look at the current smartwatch lineup for 2014, you’ll see that a lot of focus has gone into fitness and health. Manufacturers like Samsung are still testing the waters as far as different smartwatch concepts are concerned, and it’s looking like fitness and health-related products are going to be the devices with the most appeal.
Because of this, developers will have more tools to utilize within smartwatches to create health and fitness-related apps, and because smartwatch manufacturers are largely targeting an audience that will use the devices for health and fitness, apps that fall into this category are likely to outperform any other category.
The second most likely app category to succeed is the utility category. Apps that help us keep track of schedules, plan out events and keep us notified when important dates are coming up are likely to be more useful for those who typically expect a smartwatch to be a more advanced wristwatch.
Android Manufacturer Competition Will Help Eliminate Fragmentation
Right now, the wearables market is incredibly fragmented. Manufacturers are getting involved with all kinds of strange headwear and wristwear, and so far there’s no true unified platform to develop on.
However, since Samsung announced its line of smartwatch gear, a lot of other Android manufacturers are attempting to play catch up. This includes LG, who are currently working on the G Watch, and Motorola, who have been rumoured to be developing the Moto 360.
Once more Android developers enter the game, there will be a more unified operating system for developers to work on. Google is also working to make developing wearable apps easier by providing SDKs and APIs within their Android Wear platform.
Smart Watches Will Go Standalone
So far, there really aren’t many apps that make a smartwatch worth using. Our smartphones are far more superior, and equally more convenient for the standard everyday tasks we are now used to performing. So far, most smartwatches have been tied to our smartphones, but instead of being used as a quick-access convenience feature like they were intended to be, they instead over complicate things and make our smartphone lives more frustrating.
Samsung has been expected to release its first standalone smartwatch this year, and many other manufacturers will follow suit. After a decent selection of standalone smartwatches is available, developers will be able to develop wearable apps that truly make using a smartwatch worthwhile.
It may still be some time before we see the smart watch market truly kick off, but it’s certainly happening, and 2014 will be the start of it all.