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Why an Apple iWatch Has Better Chances Than Google Glass


Even the early adopter crowd prefers the smartwatch to a face-computer.

As the smartphone market matures and demand for high-end phones starts to plateau, the industry is starting to look toward wearables for the next revolution. Judging by a recent poll, it seems like smartwatches are much more likely to catch on than face-mounted computers like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass.

The blog belonging to Jessica Lessin, a former Wall Street Journal tech reporter now planning to start her own news venture aimed at industry professionals, found that early adopters prefer smartwatches by a huge margin. Eric Newcomer reports that 38% of Americans would like to buy a smartwatch, compared to 10% for glasses. Only 6% of respondents said they would choose both, and 45% don't want either option. The survey was commissioned by the blog with Survey Monkey Audience.

They also found that 62% say it is at least slightly likely that they will own a smartwatch within five years, but only 41% see any possibility of owning smartglasses.

This should be a clear sign to all of the present and future entrants to the wearable tech space. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been rumored to be working on a watch for at least a year. CEO Tim Cook seems hip to the idea.

"I don't know a lot of people that wear [glasses] that don't have to," he said at the All ThingsD conference this year. "I think the wrist is interesting. The wrist is natural."

It looks like the likely customers for either a watch or glasses agree with Cook. Google has the first-mover advantage for face-computers, but it is also reportedly working on a smartwatch. Last year, Google acquired WIMM, which developed a watch prototype in 2011. Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) already has a smartwatch on the market, but its adoption is hobbled by the $300 price tag, poor performance, and the fact that it only works in tandem with a handful of Samsung smartphones. Nike (NYSE:NKE) also has a toehold in the wearable tech arena.

Google Glass-esque devices might be nothing more than a Silicon Valley-centered niche curiosity, as this survey said. Some bars and restaurants are preemptively banning the rare gadget, and you can even get a traffic ticket for driving with smart glasses. It also didn't take long for someone to invent a word for a person too absorbed in his or her Glass to have a conversation: a "glasshole."

Still, despite some very confident rumor-mongering, the iWatch and Nexus watch aren't materializing, and the pre-holiday product drops are already over. The good news is that the market is there.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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