9.4m smart glasses units to ship annually by 2016 tips IHS

There has been a huge amount of buzz focusing on the Google Glass smart glasses that have recently started shipping to developers. We all know that other manufacturers are rushing to get similar smart glasses on the market to compete against Google. Research firm IHS iSuppli published a new report this week looking at the future of the smart glasses industry.

The research firm is forecasting that 9.4 million smart glasses units will ship between 2012 and 2016. It's a rather bold prediction considering that the Google Glass is really the only product of this type available on the market right now and it's only in developer hands. iSuppli does agree that the smart glasses segment depends on the success or failure of Google Glass, but analysts are predicting significant success for Google in the market.

Analyst Theo Ahadome from iSuppli says that when the hardware is less relevant to the growth of Google Glass because the apps are the important part users. Ahadome says things like "live updates for travel, location reviews and recommendations, nutritional information and matching personal preferences, and previous encounters to aid decision making," would be potential usage scenarios.

However, analysts will lower expectations if Google Glass turns out to be nothing more than a wearable camera. If a wearable camera is what Google Glass ends up being, the analysts will significantly reduce their shipment forecasts the area of only 1 million units between 2012 and 2016. I'm not so sure success is guaranteed, recent reports tip that Google Glass has a battery life of only 30 minutes with video capturing enabled.

[via ZDNet]