Visitors don’t have to walk far to find wearables at Computex, the big IT trade show taking place in Taipei this week. Dozens of companies from Taiwan and China are showcasing first-generation products—a big change from last year when they got almost no attention.
The reason for this new attention is clear: Bullish industry projections put the wearables market at tens of millions of devices over the next few years. The market for smart wristbands was 1.6 million devices in the second half of 2013, and will rise to 45 million in 2017, according to Canalys.
If the analysts are correct, that could mean big business for the companies that eventually become leaders, so the race is on for a foothold before the market gets too crowded. But if this year’s show indicates anything, it’s that innovation is sorely lacking. The products on display were all variants of smartwatches and fitness trackers, although with a few twists on what’s already available.