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Samsung garners 71 percent of world smartwatch market in Q1

South Korea's tech giant, Samsung Electronics Co., took 71 percent of the global market for smartwatches in the first quarter of 2014, data showed Monday.

Samsung shipped 500,000 units of smartwatches over the first three months of this year, according to tech industry watcher Strategy Analytics. 

It was an increase from Samsung's market share of 52.4 percent in 2013, when it sold 1 million units around the globe.

Japan's Sony Corp. and Pebble of the United States held 11.4 percent of the market each in the January-March period by shipping 80,000 units, data showed. Motorola and Qualcomm Inc. shipped 10,000 units each to take 1.4 percent.

The first-quarter sales numbers for Samsung, the world's biggest maker of smartphones, gains added meaning considering that customers made their purchases knowing that the company was about to launch new wearables.  

Samsung began its sales of new smart devices such as the Galaxy Gear 2, the Galaxy Gear 2 Neo, and the Samsung Gear Fit in April.

The Tizen-powered Gear 2 smartwatch features a 1.63-inch screen and basic 2.0-megapixel camera, which connects to Samsung's smartphones and other gadgets via Bluetooth technology. The Gear 2 Neo, which has no camera on its body, has the same panel size but is lighter than the Gear 2 at 55 grams.

The Samsung Gear Fit comes with the industry's first curved Super AMOLED display that can be worn more comfortably, and is also equipped with its own heart rate sensor, like the Galaxy S5.

Strategy Analytics said the only possible threat to Samsung's dominance in the smartwatch market is Apple Inc.'s "iWatch," expected to go on the market later this year.

Industry watchers said the first-quarter global sales of smartwatches is estimated at 700,000 units, a sharp rise from quarterly sales of 475,000 units last year. The combined global shipment of smartwatches is expected to reach 3 million units in 2014. (Yonhap)