IHS: 9 million Google Glass-like devices could ship by 2016

IHS: 9 million Google Glass-like devices could ship by 2016
IHS Research sees a steady climb in the number of smart glass units sold, starting with a 150% increase in 2013. That would take the number of such devices from the 50,000 purchased in 2012 to 124,000 in 2013. The buyers this year are developers who are getting the "Explorer" version of Google Glass to write programs for it.

Starting in 2014, the research firm sees growth for the product really taking off as sales to consumers drive the numbers. The growth in sales of glass-type devices is expected to rise 250% in 2014 with 6.6 million shipping by 2016. That would add up to a total of 9.4 million smart glass units sold by the end of 2016. Priced at $1,500, this is no impulse buy and it is a device where sales are driven more by applications for the product than how cool the hardware might look. Without compelling applications for glass-like devices, the whole category could fail. According to Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IHS, the looks of the hardware matter less than for any other personal communication device recently offered.

Augmented reality software is expected to lead the way, as such software on a glass device would allow users to get information from the screen that isn't available with the naked eye. Building names, reviews, prices, nutritional information are just some of the things that users of a smart glass device will see while wearing them.

Besides the rosy optimistic scenario that plays out with over 6 million units shipped in 2016 alone, IHS also put together one in which only 1 million units of smart glass devices sell in 2016. In this scenario, applications available for use on the product are the same as seen in promotional video that Google has already released for Google Glass. In this case, the product becomes an expensive camera for video capture. The wearable camera market rang up $200 million in sales last year, but would fall far short of what Google ultimately has in mind for Google Glass. So if the device is going to be more than just a wearable camera, Google needs some "must-have" applications associated with the product.

source: IHS via BGR

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