As previously reported on Bits & Pieces, we can expect to see wearable technology become less invasive over the next couple of years. Aside from an emergence in smart clothing and e-textiles, a new study from Gartner has revealed that the wearables market will continue to expand and evolve with 30% of the devices to become completely unobtrusive to the eye by 2017.
“Already, there are some interesting developments at the prototype stage that could pave the way for consumer wearables to blend seamlessly into their surroundings,” explained Annette Zimmermann, Gartner Research Director. “Smart contact lenses are one type in development. Another interesting wearable that is emerging is smart jewelry. There are around a dozen crowdfunded projects competing right now in this area, with sensors built into jewelry for communication alerts and emergency alarms. Obtrusive wearables already on the market, like smart glasses, are likely to develop new designs that disguise their technological components completely.”
Gartner went on to share several other predictions around the consumer devices market, including:
- By 2018, more than 25 million head-mounted displays (HMDs) will have been sold as immersive devices and virtual worlds will have transitioned from the fringe to the mainstream.
- Interest in HMD devices — which power virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and other smart glass apps — will continue to rise. So much so that, by 2018, the technology behind them will be found throughout both consumer and business scenarios.
- More stylish, consumer-grade video eyeglasses will result in explosive growth for HMDs — driving device adoption when paired with VR and AR content.
- By 2016, biometric sensors will be featured in 40% of smartphones shipped to end users.
- Fingerprint scanning will be the primary biometric feature introduced by most vendors, given its intuitive and unobtrusive usage.
- Other biometrics, ranging from facial and iris to voice and palm vein authentication, will also surface yet will remain relatively niche.
- Through 2017, one-third of consumers in emerging markets will have never owned a Windows device.
- In mature markets, PC penetration is still relatively high with more than 90% of consumers currently using a Windows PC.
- The rise in smartphones and their subsequent drop in price will lead some users to purchase their first smartphone for under $50.
Interested in learning more? You can read the entire press release and access the report here.