Nearly 10 million smart glass devices by 2016? Some say it's possible

But it must be more than a glorified camera

Google Glass

Developers have barely cracked the shrink wrap on the Google Glass preview devices, but already one research firm is anticipating big business for the product category by 2016.

According to research from IHS iSuppli outed this week, Glass-style "smart glasses" will turn from buzz-worthy to downright lust-worthy over the next three years, when shipments are expected to reach nearly 10 million pairs.

Taking a break from speculating about smart watches, iSuppli forecasted that upwards of 9.4 million pairs of smart glasses will be shipped between 2012 and 2016.

The prediction is a dramatic one considering Google is the only company actually producing such a device right now - and is still months away from shipping the gear to consumers.

Just a wearable camera?

iSuppli analyst Theo Ahadome opined that the hardware will be ultimately less important to end users than the practical applications that power it.

Ahadome cited the ability to provide "live updates for travel, location reviews and recommendations, nutritional information and matching personal preferences, and previous encounters to aid decision making" among the more exciting possibilities.

But for all the buzz surrounding Google Glass, the gadget must be more than a glorified "wearable camera."

If it can't provide worth beyond that, then analysts will ultimately temper their expectations to a more realistic 1 million units sold by 2016.

On the heels of news that the battery life for the current Glass Explorer Edition is a mere 30 minutes following video capture, Google has some tinkering to do to make sure the tech takes off.

Via SlashGear