Google-Led 'Smart' Glasses Revolution Poised to Begin

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The future is here: A whopping 70 million smart "wearable" devices – including smart glasses – will sell in 2017, up from a forecast of 15 million in 2013.

Expect Google, Microsoft and Apple to launch these "augmented reality" glasses and other products over the next few years, Juniper Research says in a new report. Google last year launched "Project Glass," announcing plans to offer Internet access and other digital features on what looks very similar to a standard pair of eyeglasses.

The report also states that fitness and sports wearables, followed by health-care devices, will dominate this new market with a combined share of more than 80 percent by 2017. Expect the number of buyers to rise as prices fall over time.

“The development of the smartphone/app store model has opened up new avenues for other segments within the market, such as the wearable device market, by combining mobility with an efficient method of software delivery. The simultaneous development of app-ecosystem and wearable devices will integrate technologies, such as augmented reality, into human life more seamlessly," said report author Nitin Bhas.

Other key findings in the report show that the market will be dominated by North America and Western Europe, representing more than 60 percent of the global wearable device sales. The next-gen wearable devices market, including smart glasses, will be worth more than $1.5 billion by 2014, up from just $800 million this year.

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