Looming battle: Smartwatch smackdown

Google starts the clock on smartwatches

Gero Breloer/AP

Wearable technology is all the rage, but not everyone is ready to walk around with the less-than-discreet Google Glass on his or her face—which means the most important real estate for the next generation of tech gear will be your wrist, and companies in the so-called smartwatch segment are lining up for a piece of the action.

Samsung has already released its first line of Galaxy Gear smartwatches, able to receive phone calls and texts. Reviews were mixed. But in the next year, Apple, Google, Microsoft, HTC and ZTE are all poised to release smartwatches. At this point, with the field wide open, it’s a race to see which can be the first to popularize the concept.

Tech giants aren’t the only companies in this arm-wrestle free-for-all, either. Adidas released a smartwatch this year that was able to display a user’s heart rate and track distances via GPS. Nike, another company famous for its athletic footwear, will soon follow suit.

With so many heavyweights readying their wristwatches of the future, more than five million units of smartwatches will ship in 2014, according to the analyst firm Canalys, a 900 per cent increase from 2013. Watch out.

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