Shipments of Google Glass and other similar smart glasses could reach 9.4 million by the end of 2016 according to analysts from research firm IHS.
Initial shipments of Google Glass are expected to be around 124,000 units before the end of this year, as the augmented reality headset started shipping to developers last week.
By 2014 though, as Google Glass becomes available to the public, adoption is supposedly going to rocket to 250 per cent.
However, in order to achieve such optimistic forecasts, IHS senior analyst Theor Ahadome has said Google Glass will need a strong application base before it launches to the public.
“The applications are far more critical than the hardware when it comes to the success of Google Glass,” said Ahadome. “In fact, the hardware is much less relevant to the growth of Google Glass than for any other personal communications device in recent history. This is because the utility of Google Glass is not readily apparent, so everything will depend on the appeal of the apps.”
“This is why the smart glass market makes sense for a software-orientated organisation like Google, despite the company’s limited previous success in developing hardware. Google is betting the house that developers will produce some compelling applications for Glass.”
If developers can build such applications capable of providing useful information to the Google Glass user in a safe and appealing way, Google will see a huge adoption of its augmented reality technology.
Check out our roundup of the best Google Glass videos currently out there.
“The true success of Glass will be when it can provide some information to users not apparent when viewing people, places or things,” explained Ahadome. “This information may include live updates for travel, location reviews and recommendations, nutritional information and matching personal preferences, and previous encounters to aid decision making.”
However, if the applications available for Google Glass are limited to those already showcased on the headgear, the technology will be reduced to a wearable camera rather than the augmented reality system it has the potential to become.
“The upside for smart glasses will arise when they become a powerful information platform. In many ways, this is exactly what Google already does via other mediums, and also is why the upside scenario seems more likely.”
A general public Google Glass release date is still a “year-ish away” according to Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt, but the augmented reality technology is already shipping to developers whose feedback will aid the product’s development prior to a full launch.