Will 2013 Being the Wearable Device Boom?

There’s a lot of room still open in the wearable technology industry, and app developers could be preparing to produce the next generation of apps for the up-and-coming market.

So far, most wearable tech products are focused on tracking users’ health and activity. Nike (NYSE:NKE) has a small watch-like device called the FuelBand that can keep track of exercise and distances ran and walked. The FuelBand also doubles as a watch, but it relies on a smartphone to actually display a lot of the data it collects.

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK) are both reported to be working on smartwatches of their own. Though Apple has been very secretive — as always — and hasn’t actually announced the already much-anticipated iWatch, Samsung stated in March that the company would be developing a smartwatch. These devices would likely function more like a smartphone, but would have to be optimized for the smaller screens. Juniper Research has estimated that the market for wearable devices like this could reach 70 million device sales a year by 2017 — the estimate for this year is only 15 million sales — and IMS Research suggested the market could be worth $6 billion by 2016.

Although watches are popular concept as far as wearable devices go — and perhaps an easier device to make — not all makers are leaning in that direction. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has already begun what is essentially a trial- or beta-release of its smart glasses, called Google Glass.