The Wearables Market Heating Up Among Apple, Samsung And LG


After reports hit the web that Apple is about to announce its long-rumored 'iWatch,' LG and Samsung each announced their own smartwatches that they've been working on behind the scenes.

It was originally expected that both the LG and Samsung smartwatches would be announced at the IFA event in Berlin next week, but both companies made their announcements late Wednesday.

LG's smartwatch, the G Watch R, is aesthetically focused, as it is designed to look like an actual wristwatch with its circular OLED display and leather strap, but it packs the functionality offered by other smartwatches that may not be as easy on the eyes. LG's smartwatch has a handful of sensors, including a barometer, gyroscope and heart rate monitor and will run on Google's Android Wear. LG said the G Watch R will be released in the fourth quarter, but pricing has not been detailed.

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Samsung's Gear S is the sixth smartwatch made by the Korean conglomerate, but the first ever announced to have the ability to take and make calls without the aid of a smartphone. The Gear S has Wi-Fi connectivity, a built-in GPS and pedestrian navigation. The device has a 2-inch curved display and will hit the market in October, though no details on pricing have been released. Samsung said that its new smartwatch will run on its homemade Tizen operating system, and not Android Wear.

Apple plans to announce a wrist-worn device at its iPhone 6 press event on Sept. 9, according to a report published by Re/code yesterday. The Apple wearable would be focused around Apple's new health and fitness platform, HealthKit, in addition to HomeKit, Apple's software that allows for seamless interconnectivity between devices, including iPhones, iPads and Mac OS X products.

Partners speculate that if Apple were to announce a smartwatch and the iPhone 6 at the same event, the smartphone would hit store shelves in just a couple weeks while the wearable wouldn't hit the market until late in the fourth quarter or early next year.

Partners said that with tech giants like Apple, Google, Samsung and LG throwing their hats in the wearables ring, the market for wearables is about to take off.

"It's like any emerging technology," said Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Xylotek Solutions, an Ontario-based solutions provider. "The challenge is to get something out there at a price point and functionality that is attractive to your target market. These companies putting weight behind the smartwatch market is going to speed the momentum of it and six to 12 months from now it'll be an exciting time in the wearables base."

Next: Partners Say Wearables Need To Find Their Niche