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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

January 6, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Fitness trackers go mainstream. Smartwatches? Too soon to tell

Will 2015 be the year of wearable technology? (Or was it 2014? 2013?)

No matter, says Weston Henderek, who tracks the devices for data analysis firm NPD Group. One corner of the wearable device market, fitness trackers, has clearly gone mainstream: wearable fitness trackers.

“These things have really started to take off among users that aren’t fitness fanatics,” Henderek said.

An NPD survey found that fitness trackers, brought into the public consciousness in the past few years with products released by the likes of Fitbit and Nike, are owned by roughly 10% of U.S. adults (though Henderek points out a good chunk of users tend to stop using the devices after a month or two).

Microsoft jumped on the wearable fitness tracker bandwagon in October with its Band

As far as tech gadgets go, ownership of fitness bands is spread relatively evenly among age groups, too. See the green spots below:

Results of NPD Group's survey on consumers use of wearable technology.

The results of the NPD Group Connected Intelligence unit’s survey of 5,000 U.S. adults’ wearable technology.

Smartwatches are a different matter, with their use concentrated among young men who, Henderek says, spend a good chunk of their spending money on the latest gadgets.

“You’re talking about early adopters,” Henderek said. “They may not even own a traditional watch; they’re going after the technology. They want to look cool.”

It’s still early days in the smartwatch universe, however. A big test case of their mainstream appeal is coming up with the expected release of the Apple Watch in the next few months.

 

Comments | More in Devices | Topics: apple, microsoft, microsoft band

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