Wearables – what is driving the market?

By David Henderson - 2016-09-26

From smart watches to virtual reality glasses, wearable technology is captivating consumer’s interest and expanding the realm of what is possible.  In this diverse market, Micron segments wearable electronics into three buckets - which wearables are driving volume, which are driving innovation, and which are having the greatest impact on user experiences. See a snapshot of each below:

Smart watch

In terms of volume, fitness monitors and smartwatches continue to drive major wearable segment volumes.  Micron is expecting incremental application development year over year as second and third generation devices offer increasingly better functionality, more seamless connectivity and longer battery life.

Virtual reality goggles

Virtual and Augmented reality headsets are an emerging application that shows a long term promise of innovation.  Virtual reality, in simple terms, can be referred to as immersive multimedia that simulates physical presence in a place, either in the real world or the imagined world, and lets a user interact in that world.   Augmented reality on the other hand, adds content to the real world.  The possibilities abound with usage models across multiple applications, including gaming, entertainment, productivity enhancement, industrial and medical devices to name a few.  We saw Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear as the first simple instantiations of the technology (using a smartphone as the screen in the HMD). Late in 2016 we’re expecting 2nd generation devices to hit the consumer market with Sony’s Playstation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive products.


As for improving user experiences with an already popular technology, we see continued interest in wearable cameras such as the GoPro’s Hero Series and Garmin’s Virb which are used to capture a variety of sporting and social activities in ways previously not possible – and they are being shared on social media platforms with increasing ease of production and distribution.   Development of wearable cameras in the near term continues to focus on higher quality video (ultra-high def. 4K resolution and improved motion rate), while 360 degree cameras and cameras equipped with light field technology are beginning to show up on retail shelves.

As wearables designs continue to evolve, along with developments in processors, microcontrollers, and packaging methodologies, Micron will continue to innovate for small form factors and low power consumption to enable this exciting category of products.  Visit our Embedded Memory Solutions page to learn more about Micron’s offerings in this market.

David Henderson

David Henderson