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12/3/2014
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Wearables Make Hardware The New Software

Wearable devices represent an explosive market opportunity -- and one that is still anyone's game.



This article is part of EDN and EE Times' Hot Technologies: Looking ahead to 2015 feature, where our editors examine some of the hot trends and technologies in 2014 that promise to shape technology news in 2015 and beyond.

Once Apple's bitten into a market, it's somewhat a given that there's good growth ahead and that the market is indeed stable enough for the consumer electronics giant to invest its resources, let alone time.

The iconic company did invest its time when it released the Apple Watch last quarter, going up against the likes of Google's Android Wear and others in the burgeoning wearables area of design.

Arguably, until recently wearables had been an experimental market with LED or fashion-based one-off designs leading the small pack and few names recognizable beyond Becky Stern, director of wearable electronics at open source-focused Adafruit.

As we turn to 2015 and beyond, however, wearables becomes an explosive hardware design opportunity -- one that is closely tied to both consumer and healthcare markets and that could pick up steam the way software did during the smartphone app explosion. Better yet, it's an opportunity that is still anyone's game.

Healthy market

Perhaps the most current recognizable wearable to the mainstream consumer is the Fitbit line of devices, which accounted for approximately 67% of the 3.3 million fitness bands and activity trackers sold between April 2013 and March 2014 in the United States, by NPD Group estimates. But the handy wristband is only the start.

Read the rest of this article on EDN Network.

Suzanne Deffree is executive editor of EDN Network. The award-winning journalist manages several blogs and sections of EDN.com and EDN's e-newsletters including its daily newsletter, EDN Today, and EDN Fun Friday. She also heads EDN's social media and community ... View Full Bio

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