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Image credit: Stuart C. Wilson via Getty Images

IDC: Android smartwatches only rival Apple in China

Apple expected to remain the top global player in smartwatches.
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Stuart C. Wilson via Getty Images

If you're eyeing a smartwatch, there are virtually hundreds you can choose from -- but odds are high you'll flock to Apple. The Apple Watch has beat out the competition in the global smartwatch market and will continue to do so, according to estimates by research firm IDC. While Google's Wear OS and Samsung's Tizen continue to expand worldwide, Android smartwatches only sell really well in China. "Apple's [...] nearest competitors follow by a long margin," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's wearables team to CNET. "Android also plays a big role here, but it's mostly known as a Chinese wearables platform."

The firm estimates that Apple will retain 25.9 percent of the smartwatch market by 2023. While you should take these forecasts with a grain of salt (market share predictions from firms like IDC and Gartner can be completely off-base), they reflect the current reality. Apple Watches now make up 1 in 3 smartwatches sold and sales have grown in the first half of 2019, according to Counterpoint Research. An estimated 35.8 percent of smartwatches sold around the world in the first three months of 2019 came from Apple, the report confirms. Fossil, which makes the most Google Wear OS watches, only took up 2.5 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2019.

There are many reasons why people flock to the Apple Watch, such as compatibility with their smartphone or the wide range of apps in the App Store. Many Android smartwatch users complain that their watches still lack key features such as GPS or LTE. But that may change as Google makes a more serious effort in the wearable market. Earlier this year, Fossil sold $40 million of its smartwatch technology to Google. A Google-branded wearable, such as the rumored Pixel smartwatch, could give the Apple Watch a serious run for its money.

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