Smartwatch wars: The top contenders

Pebble Watches

Samsung launched its Galaxy Gear to much fanfare on Wednesday pipping Apple in the smartwatch battle. The Cupertino, California-based company has been working on its own smartwatch, according to numerous reports. But smartwatches aren't a new concept.

Microsoft released its own smartwatch technology back in 2003. Even Michael Knight had one back in the 1980s, in the cult TV series Knight Rider. The new launches, however, are expected to considerably boost sales.

(Read More: Samsung seeks 'iPod moment' with smartwatch launch)

Research firm Canalys predicts 5 million smartwatches will be shipped next year, a 900 percent increase on 2013 numbers. Strategy Analytics, meanwhile, forecasts global smartwatch shipments will grow from 1 million units in 2013 to 7 million in 2014. In money terms, Credit Suisse expects the industry to grow from between $3 billion and $5 billion today to $50 billion within five years.

(Read More: When to expect Apple iPhones, iPads, iWatch and iTV)

So who are the major smartwatch players? Click ahead to find out.

By CNBC's Matt Clinch. Updated September 5, 2013