Google’s wearable tailored operating system, Android Wear, was the talk of the smartwatch industry for much of 2014. Even with all of the buzz around the new OS, however, manufacturers only managed to collectively ship 720,000 devices through the end of the year according to a new report from research firm Canalys.
Unsurprisingly, Motorola’s round-faced Moto 360 was the most popular Android Wear smartwatch, edging out its five competitors to take the clear lead. LG’s G Watch R, another with a round face, performed significantly better than the original.
In total, 4.6 million “wearable bands” shipped during 2014.
Samsung took the usual approach of producing a variety of devices. The company launched six models in just 14 months across both Android Wear and Tizen and while it appears to be a major player, Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones said they’ve struggled to keep consumers engaged and must work hard to attract developers while it focuses on Tizen.
As reported earlier this month, Pebble has sold over a million smartwatches since its launch in 2013. Canalys credits continual software updates, a wealth of apps in its app store and price cuts in the fall as being responsible for strong sales in the second half of last year.
Looking ahead, Canalys said all eyes are now on Apple and its upcoming Apple Watch. The firm believes their wearable will dramatically grow the market for smart bands and wearables overall and put pressure on Google to improve Android Wear – something they’ll no doubt be able to accomplish.