Top technology companies manufacturing fitness trackers and smartwatches, identified by GlobalData
The wearable tech market is expected to reach approximately $54bn in value by 2023, witnessing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19%, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The company’s latest report, ‘Wearable Technology in Healthcare – Thematic Research’, notes that over 10% of the adult population in the US are expected to adopt smartwatches in 2019, and competition in the segment is vastly increasing. Wearables collect large amounts of data and are easily paired with software systems for analysis. Big tech companies such as Google are developing algorithms that interpret large collections of data from wearable sensors.
Listed below are the leading technology companies that manufacture fitness trackers and smartwatches, where their products can be useful in the healthcare sector, as identified by GlobalData.
Apple leads the market after entering in 2015 with its first smartwatch. The company has since expanded into hearables with the Apple AirPods in 2016. The company is adopting newer technologies to drive operability of its devices, such as long-term evolution (LTE) capability on Apple Watches and Siri on Apple AirPods.
Facebook’s in-house engineers are working on a wearable band that can teach people how to feel words. Inspired by Braille and Tadoma, the band enables the wearer to ‘read’ incoming smartphone messages in the form of vibrations.
Fitbit is a pioneer in wearable technologies, offering a range of connected health and fitness devices ranging from smartwatches to wristbands, activity trackers and wireless headphones. The company offers a personalised online dashboard and mobile apps that sync automatically with and display real-time data from wearable devices.
Garmin offers a range of products designed for use in fitness and activity tracking. The company’s fitness trackers and ruggedised GPS smartwatches are marketed worldwide. The company also offers Garmin Connect and Garmin Connect Mobile platforms for users to track, analyze and share their fitness and wellness data.
Despite being a front-runner in developing wearable technologies, Google encountered challenges in positioning its devices in the marketplace. The company’s Wear OS has been termed as an underperformer when compared to Apple’s watchOS.
The Wear OS, however, still remains the preferred choice for numerous smartwatch original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It is anticipated to undergo an overhaul when Google initiates the development of the long-awaited Pixel Watch.
HTC is a Taiwan-based consumer electronics company that is recognised as a leader in the virtual reality (VR) sector. The company plans to invest more aggressively in their VR competencies. It has designed VR devices for Steam users in partnership with Valve Corporation.
Huawei offers low-cost fitness trackers and smartwatches in the global wearables market. Backwards integration initiatives to develop its own smartwatch chips and OS have reduced the company’s dependency on other vendors.
The latest Huawei Watch GT includes its own custom silicon chips and features the Lite OS replacing the Wear OS.
Despite being an early entrant in wearables with the Microsoft Band, Microsoft’s present involvement in the sector is largely confined to smart glasses. The company also holds patents for new fitness-focussed smart rings and bands.
Qualcomm is involved in developing custom silicon chips for wearable devices, primarily for OEMs utilising the Google Wear OS. In September 2018, Qualcomm introduced its latest smartwatch chipset called the Snapdragon Wear 3100.
The company has collaborated with various companies for wearables devices, including Compal Electronics and Longcheer for smartwatches, Huaqin and Thundersoft for 4G kids’ watches, and Franklin Wireless for 4G smart trackers.
Samsung’s wearable portfolio includes smartwatches, smart fitness trackers, and VR headsets. The company uses its own Linux-based Tizen OS and initiated the development of Exynos SoC microprocessors for its smartwatches.
Samsung has expanded into the hearables segment with the Samsung Gear IconX and is promoting its smartwatches in enterprise applications.
Sony’s wearable offerings include smartwatches, activity trackers and VR headsets. The company’s SmartBand activity tracker series, however, falls short of the latest healthcare-focused functionalities. Sony integrated calling capabilities in the activity tracker and relaunched it as SmartBand Talk.
In 2019, Sony introduced the Sony Wena straps, which enable watch-based contactless payment, basic fitness tracking, and notification access.
Vuzix, an emerging brand in the wearables market, offers display technologies and software products. The company partnered with Blackberry to develop enterprise-specific smart glasses. It is currently developing a waveguide-based head mounted display (HMD) for use in US military aircraft.
Xiaomi’s product offerings include the Mi Band fitness trackers, which accounted for approximately one-quarter of the company’s shipments in Q4 2018. The company is set to introduce new wearables in 2019, which will feature its technology partner Huami’s new Huangshan -1 chip that is capable of screening the wearer’s heart rate patterns through cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI).