Apple Watch grabs half of smartwatch market, Android Wear just 10 percent

But smartwatches are still waiting for that big breakthrough to make them must-haves says analysts.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

The Apple Watch grabbed over half of the global smartwatch market last year even though it only went on sale at the end of April - while Android Wear has slipped behind, according to an analyst report.

Juniper Research said the Apple Watch accounted for 52 percent of smatwatch shipments in 2015 - compared to Android Wear which it said made up less than 10 percent of shipments. Somewhere around 17 million smartwatches were shipped last year.

Most other smartwatch sales are currently coming from cheaper, simpler devices from a range of smaller players, such as Martian, X and Razer, the latter with the recently-announced Nabu Watch, Juniper said.

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The analysts said the "continued lack of a strong use case for smartwatches" means that, apart from the Apple Watch, the market is being driven by lower-priced devices with less sophisticated functionality, which provide basic notification and fitness tracking, without an app-capable operating system on the device itself.

And while smartwatch vendors have filled out their product lines, allowing for customisation and price segmentation, there has not been any great leap forward that revolutionised the category.

The smartwatch is now a category waiting for a market said research author James Moar: 'Newer devices have offered more polished looks and subtly different functions, but no large changes in device capabilities or usage."

Smartwatch vendors have been trying to emulate Apple (which sells pricey gold smartwatches) by adding gold- and platinum-plating and crystals in an attempt to attract more fashion-conscious consumers. But smartwatches are still waiting on better battery life and applications that provide a compelling reason to buy one.

In September Apple revealed there were now 10,000 apps available for the Apple Watch - compared to Google's claim of 4,000 Android Wear apps in May.

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