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Where Have All The Wearables Gone?

Where Have All The Wearables Gone?

Apple had just held its highly awaited March 21st event, but to the disappointment of fans of wearable devices everywhere, there was no major update regarding its first and only smartwatch (so far), the Apple Watch. Sure, Apple dropped the pricing of its wearable device by fifty bucks, and even took the opportunity to introduce new band options. But -- is that it?


We are now about to conclude the first quarter of 2016, and even though it has only been three months into the new year, one would think that a new wearable device from a big name manufacturer might have been unveiled by now, considering that we have had the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas in Nevada in the United States and the Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona in Spain, already. 


Perhaps the only exception was Fitbit who showed off a new watch at this year’s CES event, only to see its shares drop to their lowest numbers.  At the MWC, the biggest smartwatch that was highlighted was from Haier, which is more known for producing washing machines. Will this be a trend for the rest of 2016?


Last year, plenty of smartwatch offerings debuted in the market. First and foremost was the Apple Watch, who deserves credit for helping increase the level of popularity of smartwatches and wearable devices to the masses. Others then joined in on the program, including devices from Samsung, LG, and Huawei, just to name a few. 


But this year, it appears that device makers are stepping on the brakes, so to speak. One good example is Apple who chose instead to boost the options of its accessories for the Apple Watch. Industry watchers are now speculating that maybe, just maybe, 2016 is the year for refinements instead of new unveilings. 


By the time 2015 ended, 22 million units of smartwatches were shipped around the world, easily surpassing the volume of Swiss watches, for the first time ever. Analysts foresee growing demand for wearable devices. According to analyst George Jijiashvili of CCS Insight, the market for wearables is expected to increase by almost a third to $6.3 billion this year.


But so far this year, device makers such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are only content introducing updates to band materials, color options, and finishes, not in debuting new models. This now begs the question -- will accessories for wearable devices make a difference? Apple certainly thinks so, with CEO Tim Cook explaining that people regularly change watch bands even if they only purchase the Apple Watch occasionally. Is this true of other smartwatches and their respective accessories as well? The next few months should provide some answers.