More than 5M smartwatches to ship in 2014, says Canalys

Smartwatches are all the rage -- or at least they will be in 2014. The research firm expects worldwide shipments to hit 500,000 this year and climb past 5 million by 2014.

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Soon everyone may be wearing a smartwatch. CNET

Wearable technology may get a big boost from smartwatches next year.

Smartwatch shipments are expected to explode to more than 5 million worldwide in 2014, research firm Canalys said in a forecast released Tuesday.

The research firm estimates that more than 330,000 smartwatches were shipped in 2012. This year, with the release of the Kickstarter-born Pebble Watch, Canalys expects smartwatch shipments to climb past 500,000.

Canalys predicts a new generation of devices from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and others will spur the huge jump in smartwatch shipments.

"Smartwatches will be the most important new product category in consumer electronics since the iPad defined the market for tablets," said Chris Jones, Canalys vice president and principal analyst, in the forecast. "Software platforms tied to smartwatches will also be a tremendous opportunity for developers to write apps in categories such as health and wellness or sports and fitness."

Smartwatch rumors have been pouring out at a rapid pace over the last several months. Apple and Microsoft are both believed to be feverishly working on smartwatches, but so far, neither company has confirmed it will launch such a device.

In March, Samsung revealed it's been working on wearable devices that act like smartphones. Even Google may be joining the fray with a smartwatch reportedly being developed by its Android unit.

(Via The Next Web)