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Cellular Smartwatches Poised For Steep Growth

Cellular connectivity in smartwatches is set for steep growth in the coming years, according to Canalys.

Canalys forecasts that 7.5 million smartwatches with cellular connectivity will ship this year, rising to 53.6 million in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 63 per cent.


While shipments are likely to be driven by a new Apple Watch with cellular connectivity in the short term, Canalys notes that “Samsung and LG have been very aggressive in bringing new cellular technologies to market”.

Canalys states that smartwatches such as Samsung’s Gear S2 classic 3G/4G and LG’s Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE “will also play significant roles”.

“The phase 2 eSIM specification will enable more independent smartwatches with a smoother user experience around cellular connectivity,” Canalys analyst Daniel Matte commented. “Users will soon be able to easily choose among cellular providers and pay for monthly service.

“Many more smartwatches with LTE and GPS/GNSS will also be released this year, thanks to the availability of new LTE Category 1 chipsets.’

Canalys states that, following a full year of availability, the “new technologies will have the biggest impact on shipments in 2017”.

Meanwhile, other factors further driving smartwatch growth in the next few years will include integration of additional health and fitness sensors, expanded activity tracking and battery life improvements.

“Though hardware and software constraints have limited growth until now, the app ecosystems around watchOS and Android Wear will accelerate over the medium term,” Canalys states.

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