Photomontage of the day: The world of wearable computers

May 18, 2013, 1:39 PM UTC

FORTUNE — Computers one wears, rather than carries in a briefcase, backpack or pocket, are at an “inflection point” — a market poised to explode from $3 billion to $5 billion today to as much as $30 billion to $50 billion in three to five years.

That’s according to a Credit Suisse report snagged Friday by Barron’s Tiernan Ray.

The theory is that smartphones are going to be the hub connecting a proliferation of small, wireless devices that will become increasingly popular as software improves, component prices fall and new business uses emerge.

“Bottom line,” writes Ray, “the authors think wearables are ‘a mega trend’ and that ‘your clients need to care’ because the gizmos may have ‘a significant and pervasive impact on the economy,’ change how we all interact with technology, and may ‘advance [the] Big Data paradigm.'”

Apple (AAPL) is likely to be one of the big winners in the new market, according to the report, along with Broadcom (BRCM), eBay (EBAY), Google (GOOG), Microchip (MCHP), NXP Semiconductor (NXPI) and, among retail stocks, Nike (NKE), Under Armour (AU) and Alliance Data Systems (ADS).

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