Why smart glasses sales will be slow to come into focus

Smart glasses may look stylish and trendy but what will you use them for? That is one of the questions that stands in the way of consumer acceptance, research suggests.

Those concerned about being left out in the rush to buy smart glasses can relax: smart glasses shipments are unlikely to exceed 10 million for at least four years.

A report from Juniper Research suggests there are some rather large obstacles in the way of smart glasses, including a lengthy time-to-market and the lack of a "key consumer use case."

On top of that the report also found that "smart glasses continue to raise privacy and safety concerns from many consumers and government bodies" and these will have "to be addressed or assuaged" before the devices will be accepted.

In addition prices and smart glasses' status "as supplementary devices" will mean they will remain niche products for the medium term, the report suggests.

The potential good news for vendors looking to get a boost from this new technology is that, according to Juniper, sales may be improved slightly thanks to fresh releases from key suppliers in the next two years, including Osterhout Design Group, Recon Instruments, and Samsung. The Osterhout Design Group is a San Fancisco-based private company that specilaise in the design of intelligent devices.

The research also suggests that the development of smart glasses is at a comparable stage to smartphones in the early 2000s and is primarily focused on the enterprise. Juniper does not think it likely that enterprises are ready to make bulk purchases of smart glasses, believing that in the early stages workplaces are likely to share devices amongst users. The result, the researchers believe, will be a requirement for high investment while shipment volumes will be low "for the next five years".

The analysts also believe Android will remain the dominant smart glasses OS, although "the anticipated release of the Samsung Gear Blink in 2015 will bring [the Linux-based] Tizen into the space".

The whitepaper, A Future In View for Smart Glasses?, is available free of charge (registration required) here.

Further Reading:

Augmented reality glasses and apps: The recipe for a business big data revolution

Best practices for crafting a wearable device policy

Google looks at Ray-Ban, Oakley partnership for Glass

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