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Sports Applications Technology

Sports and Fitness Apps set to Dominate the Healthcare App Market: Report

November 28, 2011


According to a recent report by ABI Research (News - Alert), the sports and health mobile application market is poised for tremendous growth with smartphone health applications set to exceed $400 million annually by 2016.

This growth is linked to and triggered by the ability of mobile handsets to deliver additional functionality that will enable access and support to sports and fitness and healthcare applications. Although healthcare applications are becoming increasingly important, the report indicates that sports and fitness is all set to dominate the healthcare app market.

Jonathan Collins, principal analyst, ABI Research noted that although the app market was transforming and apps were moving away from proprietary devices to mobile phones, the adoption has been limited by the data they can collect.

Seeing a way around this limitation, Collins added, “However, with the connectivity that Bluetooth Smart will embed in mobile handsets, wearable devices will bring greater detail to mobile handsets.”

And, with that in place, handset connectivity to wearable devices will see athletic equipment players moving to support handset applications, bringing more dynamism to the sports monitoring market.

Although traditional players such as Garmin (News - Alert) and Polar have delivered high-end specialist systems, they will be forced to reckon with and compete directly with the mobile handset. In addition, they will also have to contend with start-ups and new entrants, online communities and the like over the next five years.

In the ultimate analysis, it all boils down to the ability to download apps to mobile handsets and the ability of wearable devices to connect to mobile handsets using low power connectivity. Mobile handsets have a huge advantage, as they are popular, flexible and almost always with the owner.

According to Collins, as apps become an integral part of wearable devices, revenue from mobile apps will lag behind but app downloads are bound to grow in the next five years.

In another survey report, ABI research found that the rise of feature phones and smartphones in China in recent years has contributed to a growing trend of mobile applications usage. While some of the mature markets in the west are already immersed in smartphones and swarmed with smartphone applications, the mobile applications market in China is only beginning to emerge.

Mini Swamy is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf