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Smartwatch shipments triple, but Apple's market share slips

Global shipments grew more than 200 percent in the first quarter, but Apple's share of the market it helped create has dropped to a little more than half.

The smartwatch market has grown at a healthy clip during the past year, but Apple may be seeing its dominance fade.

Smartwatch makers shipped 4.2 million watches in the first quarter of 2016, up 223 percent from 1.3 million units in the year-ago period, according to figures released Wednesday by market researcher Strategy Analytics. Apple, which is credited with jump-starting consumer interest in smartwatches, still accounts for 52 percent of global market share, but that's down from 63 percent in the prior quarter, the market researcher said.

Strategy Analytics warned that after the rush of early adopters, Apple's honeymoon period may be over.

"Future traction for Apple Watch 2 will be closely linked to compelling apps that better exploit the usability of wearable tech, while offering autonomous 4G connectivity and enhanced battery life -- all if which are in rather short supply today," Cliff Raskind, director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement.

With the addition of Samsung's 14 percent market share, the two electronics giants accounted for more than two-thirds of the global market, Strategy Analytics reported. Growth is being fueled by consumer demand for Apple, Android Wear and Tizen models, but competition from LG, Motorola and others is ramping up fast, the market researcher said.

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