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Tech companies to push wearable gadgets in 2014

Will 2014 be remembered as the year wearable computing took off?

Upstart entrepreneurs and major manufacturers such as Samsung, Qualcomm and Sony certainly hope so.

Gadgets that you snap, buckle or fasten to your body are already marketed to fitness freaks obsessed with tracking every possible metric their bodies produce. There are countless smartwatches for tech nerds who'd rather glance at their wrists to check messages than reach for their smartphones. And thousands of people are already seeing the world differently with the help of the Internet-connected eyewear, Google Glass.

Even with the possibilities these devices offer today, gadget lovers can expect technology companies to stretch the wearable concept further this week in Las Vegas at the International CES event, the industry's annual trade show.

Several companies are expected to unveil wearable devices that are easier to use, extend battery life, and tap into the power of gestures, social networks and cloud computing.

The wearables wave is still in its early phases. Many of the technologies on display will offer a glimpse of the future -- not necessarily products that are ready for the mainstream consumer.

Research firm IHS says the global wearables market -- which also includes health products like hearing aids and heart-rate monitors -- could top $30 billion in 2018, up from nearly $10 billion at the end of 2013.-- AP

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