Shipments of ‘smart glasses’, such as the Google Glass product, are expected to grow by almost 150% this year. That’s according to ABI Research, which expects over 90% of these purchases to come from enterprise or public sector customers.
Smart watch shipments are expected to grow at an even higher rate, exceeding 300% unit shipment growth in 2015. The company expects the forthcoming Apple Watch to capture almost half of the smart watch market this year.
Nick Spencer, Senior Practice Director at ABI Research, said “Smart glasses were much hyped in 2014 as a smartphone replacement, largely on the back Google’s Glass product announced in early 2013. However, 2014 showed the use case for smart glasses is task specific, for example remote assistance, security (facial and number plate recognition), augmented reality, and virtual reality. The Google Glass generalized use case is a primary reason for the changes announced last week.”
“The use case for general-purpose smart glasses in the consumer space is weak, especially at a technical level, where projector quality has some way to go, as does battery life along with RF components and the miniaturization of these elements. Also, at a practical level, most people are not prepared to wear glasses because many simply do not normally need to, and if they do, they need specific lenses. Lastly, many glass wearers have moved to wearing contact lenses. It just seems a retrograde form-factor and a very obtrusive one for the user and general public.”
Google has recently stopped selling its Google Glass Explorer device, although it promises there’ll be an updated model in the future.