As demand for smartphones and tablets is gradually approaching saturation with related shipment growths slowing down, vendors have been aggressively seeking new growth drivers. Wearable devices are identified as one of the main growth drivers. Among them, smart watches, bracelets and glasses look the most promising.
The South Korea government, seeing strong potentials in the wearable device market, has already come up with a series of strategies for the sector in the run up to 2020. It aims at having the country's wearable device shipments account for 40% of the global volume by 2020.
The South Korea government is encouraging more firms to join the sector, looking to increase the number of its players by 100 by 2020 with wearable devices to account for 50% of the country's total IT production by 2020. The number of wearable device patent applications in South Korea has also been increasing each year.
Digitimes Research identifies battery life and industrial design as presenting some of the biggest R&D challenges for countries or firms that wish to enter the wearable device market. Battery life affects the optimization of hardware intergation, which in turn affects the richness of app contents. Industrial design, on the other hand, is crucial in terms of consumers' willingness to wear the devices.
The development of the wearable device sector is not only about the devices themselves, but also about the upstream supply chain as well as the downstream telecom carriers, apps designers and hardware retailers. For South Korea, its strengths coming from its panel and battery sectors are expected to boost their competitiveness in the wearable device market.