Fitness-ready smartwatches may eclipse fitness trackers: report

Consumer wearable devices -- including fitness trackers, smart glasses, and smartwatches -- will have shipped 64 million units around the globe by the end of 2017, according to a new report from analyst firm Berg Insight.

That's up from 8.3 million in 2012 and 3.1 million in 2011, at a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent.

While wearable fitness and activity trackers make up the vast majority of those shipments, Berg Insight predicts that will change. They add that smartwatches will eclipse fitness trackers to make up 23 percent of the 13.8 mobile-connected devices that ship in 2017, while personal trackers will make up only 17 percent.

"A perfect storm of innovation within low power wireless connectivity, sensor technology, big data, cloud services, voice user interfaces and mobile computing power is coming together and paves the way for connected wearable technology," senior analyst Johan Svanberg said in a statement.

"However, today's devices need to evolve into something more than single purpose fitness trackers or external smartphone notification centers in order to be truly successful."

He predicts that smartwatches will also feature fitness tracking functionality, as already seen in the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Pebble smartwatch, which integrates with Runkeeper.

Last week research firm ABI Research issued a new survey that found that wearable connected device revenues will surge to more than $6 billion in five years, with fitness trackers claiming the number one spot.