5 million sounds like a huge number, until you compare it to the 712 million smartphones that shipped last year. The road to mainstream adoption of smartwatches is likely to be long, as watchmakers deal with technical hurdles and work out the kinks. Some of the companies mentioned by Canalys may not get around to tackling smartwatches until late next year, or maybe even the year after that, and we're likely to see a lot of experimentation as the category takes off.
"I don't know if there's going to be a killer watch that the mainstream is going to be using," says Suke Jawanda, Bluetooth SIG's chief marketing officer. "What I'm excited about is there's going to be a watch for everybody."
He may be right in the short term, but odds are that one of the tech industry's titans—most likely Apple or Google—will eventually come along with a category-defining product that makes the whole idea click, the same way Apple's iPod, iPhone, and iPad did. And when it does, expect it to pack a level of truly smart functionality similar to what we see in Google Now today.
Just don't expect to see that smartwatch any time soon.
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