Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve—it’s becoming more and more popular to wear your computer instead.
According to International Data Corporation, the wearable computing market will reach 19.2 million shipments this year. By 2018, almost 112 million is expected.
So what kinds of wearables are gaining momentum? IDC says to watch out for complex accessories, like the Apple-compatible Nike+ FuelBand or the Jawbone UP, both activity trackers which are made to connect with IP-capable devices. These are (and will continue to be) especially successful products because of their obvious function and place in users’ lives—a no brainer for fitness gurus and gym goers.
A bit less well-developed but certainly a force to be reckoned with in the years to come: smart accessories. These are devices like the complex accessories, but can house apps and other features to enrich the user experience. Take for example the Samsung Galaxy Gear, a watch that connects to your phone to minimize distraction, prevent loss or theft of another handheld device, and streamlines communication by making calls and receiving messages. There are rumors of an Apple “iWatch” to counter this success, but so far Apple’s wearable technology isn’t quite there.
Google Glass and other smart wearables, says IDC, are still largely in their production stage. But once they catch up to the market of smaller, simpler devices, it’s only a matter of time before apps and exclusive capabilities make this class of wearable a must-have for the average user.