IDC and other analysts are still upbeat about smartwatch growth, although there is widespread recognition that the market hasn't grown as fast as envisioned three years ago.
McCarty admitted that the smartwatch market is "moving slower than a lot of people [expected] and certainly than we would have."
Still, McCarty said there's a promising future for smartwatches, especially for use in business and industrial applications. For example, Red Hat has developed Tizen-based application modules for work flow, time management and expense management, he said.
Samsung and other businesses are working on a number of proof-of-concept projects, including health-related applications, he said.
In coming years, it won't be far-fetched to see field-based workers using smartwatches, possibly to allow a manager to track their pace of work and location.
Based on feedback from business customers, McCarty said IT managers want to see more smartwatches operate independently over LTE wireless or 3G networks, instead of having them paired with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said that smartwatches have so far had "no real impact" in enterprises other than with users who want to be notified quickly they have emails. "Most businesses are still trying to figure out how to best use tablets, so smartwatches are another area they need to explore. To date, it’s unclear how smartwatches are useful to make workers more productive" or give ROI to companies.
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