Wearables will wow them in Vegas

Vendors like Samsung and Sony will be showing off their latest smartwatches

Wearable devices will be the focus of attention at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) being held next week in Las Vegas.

So predicts Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner. Digital health and fitness wearables are expected to be the hottest items, with the exhibitor floor space being expanded by 40 percent to accommodate digital health and fitness vendors, says McIntyre.

Gartner expects the revenues from wearable devices, apps and services for fitness and health to top $5 billion by 2016, up from $1.6 billion in 2013.

Don't forget smartwatches, however. Vendors like Samsung and Sony will be falling over themselves to show off their latest smartwatch offerings at CES.

"We will see a range of styles and functionality for smartwatches as companies experiment with designs that appeal to different potential market segments. However, an unclear value proposition will continue to steer consumers' spending toward tablets and wearable fitness device in the near term," says McIntyre.

Apps will be the key to consumer adoption of wearable devices, judges Strategy Analytics. More than one-quarter of 1,700 app developers surveyed by the research firm plan to develop apps for wearable devices in 2014, leading to sales of 125 million wearable devices units by 2017.

New apps for smart glasses will include virtual reality for gamers and product visualization features for shoppers. Smart glasses are being piloted "in retail stores for shoppers to visualize how customized products and features would appear in real-life," says McIntyre.

"To build successful ecosystems around devices, providers of wearable electronics should understand that consumers will consider how easily their wearable devices communicate with each other, with their other computing devices and with multiple screens," she adds.

For more:
- see Gartner's release

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