The next wave of tech innovation will bring wearable computers to mainstream, but in the long term highly integrated invisible computing will take over
BOSTON, MA – February 11, 2014 – Wearables are widely seen as the next wave of tech innovation, and smartwatches will create a market worth $3.6 billion in 2020. However, the real future will be in "invisible computing," which will offer a seamless integrated wearable experience, and displace conventional devices like smartphones and tablets, creating a market of $27 billion – and still rapidly rising – in 2033, according to Lux Research.
"Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way people connect with the world and each other. Now, varied usage scenarios are driving innovation in materials and components, including flexible displays, curved batteries and energy harvesting, that will enable entirely new classes of devices,” said Cosmin Laslau, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Building the Devices of Tomorrow: Electronics Shift to Wearable and Distributed Computing.”
“The devices of tomorrow will see dramatic innovations in the user experience, including improved wearability, added biosensor functionality and seamless connectivity,” he added.
Lux Research analysts evaluated the key drivers for the consumer electronics devices, the enabling technologies and the resulting industry shifts. Among their findings:
- Wearable computers will be varied. By 2023, wearable devices will emerge in diverse shapes and sizes, ranging from plastic wristbands to rings that will interact with other devices for displays and input. In 2033, they will become mainstream, with an installed base of 41% of the population.
- Invisible computing will change lives. With a string of innovations including advanced speech recognition and gestures, "invisible" computing will emerge prominently in 2028. The new class of devices offering a seamless and wearable user experience will be used by 6% of the population in 2033, still on the upswing.
- Tablet market to peak in 2018. Tablet usage has grown rapidly since the launch of the iPad, and will witness far more dramatic growth with ownership rising until 2018, and reaching $91 billion in revenues. However, falling prices and users' attention shifting to other devices will make that the high water mark for tablets.
The report, titled “Building the Devices of Tomorrow: Electronics Shift to Wearable and Distributed Computing,” is part of the Lux Research Energy Storage, BioElectronics, and Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics Intelligence services.