Google Glass has been in the hands of developers for less than a month but that isn’t stopping one research firm from making some bold predictions about the future of smart glasses. According to a new report from IHS iSuppli, roughly 10 million smart glasses will have shipped by 2016.
That’s a considerable number when you consider that only 50,000 kits shipped in 2012, mostly from generic brands that won’t really factor into the overall success or failure of the product line. Growth is pegged at 150 percent this year, mostly from developers anxious to get in on the ground floor with new apps. That figure is expected to jump to as many as 6.6 million units in 2016, however.
Consumer adoption isn’t really expected until 2014 when Google Glass hits the market. At that time, IHS forecasts a jump in shipments by 250 percent. But that, of course, will depend primarily on just how popular Glass is among buyers. Key to its success, the firm said, lies with developers. If they fail to produce meaningful software for the device, shipments could be much lower than anticipated.
Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IHS, said the true success of Glass will be when it can provide information to users that isn’t apparent when viewing people, places or things. Examples include live updates for travel, location reviews and recommendations, nutritional information and data about previous encounters to help make decisions. He said the upside for smart glasses will be when they can become a powerful information platform much like Google is today.