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Update on the Worldwide Wearable Band Market

According to the latest market study by Canalys, nearly 5 million smart and basic wearable bands shipped in Q3 2014, with total unit shipments increasing 37 percent quarter on quarter.

Furthermore, the Moto 360 was the most successful of the initial Google Android Wear devices, accounting for over 15 percent of the smart band market. Despite being supply-constrained, its appealing design helped it to easily out-ship other products.

LG has responded by quickly adopting a circular display with the G Watch R. Meanwhile, Samsung remained the overall smart band market leader. They have already begun to experiment with larger display sizes and cellular connectivity with the Gear S.

Canalys believes that Android Wear will be key to the development of the market, as it is poised to be one of the two dominant wearable operating systems, alongside the Apple Watch OS. That said, Canalys says Google will need to redesign the Android Wear user interface.


"The announcement of the Apple Watch late in the quarter has likely had an effect on sales of existing devices, as some consumers will choose to wait for Apple's wearable," said Daniel Matte, analyst at Canalys.

The smart band market was flat between Q2 and Q3, but with an installed base of over 1.8 billion Android smartphones, there is a huge potential market of Android users not considering an Apple Watch.

Fitbit and Jawbone held onto their first and second place positions, respectively, in the basic band market for the quarter, and both have just announced new products. Garmin passed Nike to take third place in shipments, while Xiaomi and Huawei also overtook the one-time market leader and rounded out the top five.

Google Fit, Microsoft Health and the Samsung Digital Health Platform have all recently been announced in response to Apple HealthKit. While the new Microsoft Band does not have strong hardware appeal, their cross-platform cloud services approach is a wise strategy, aaccording to the Canalys assessment.

There is upside opportunity for brand new services on wearable platforms, and not just in the area of health and fitness. What's next on the horizon? Canalys says to expect developers to eagerly embrace Apple's WatchKit SDK, when it is released later this month.

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