At least for now, the Android systems maker is on top.
Tim Cook and company have alluded to entering new product categories this year, so calling this a TKO might be a tad premature. Plus Samsung, maker of the recently announced Tizen-powered Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch, has plenty of fight left.
There’s a huge prize for the winner and runners-up in this battle. Market-research firm ABI projects that smartwatch shipments will climb to 90 million in 2019, up from 7.5 million this year. The broader wearable device market is expected to be much bigger. ABI sees 450 million such devices shipping in 2019, up from 54 million last year.
It’s not just the major players that will be winners. Many companies that were immediately linked to Google’s announcement of Android Wear, a wearable device platform for the newly unveiled LG G Watch, have already seen their stock go up—literally and figuratively.
LG, the company that developed the watch, has only described it as square, made of plastic and a small frontal display. The cool factor comes with how it operates on Android Wear software.
The software brings voice control and Google Now to the watch so a simple glance at your wrist can show the day’s weather or upcoming events or travel time. Voice command will allow you to call up songs from your smartphone playlist or even hail a cab. Email, text, tweets … it will link your entire online world to your watch.
By the time the planned launch rolls around in second quarter 2014, the G Watch should work with a “wide range” of Android devices, including new sensors to track fitness activity similar to devices sold by Fitbit and Jawbone.
While LG has the most intimate relationship with Google’s Android Wear right now.
Here are two more key companies to watch as the smartwatch ecosystem evolves: