"In the recent past, the haptics industry had been short of prominent success stories. After the huge success that saw haptic actuators adopted ubiquitously in products like smartphones, the industry then suffered increasing commoditisation, high levels of competition and shrinking margins. The eccentric rotating mass (ERM) motor dominated for many years, and it is only recently that linear resonant actuators (LRAs) have taken significant amounts of market share, enabling some fresh growth. Even this change has not significantly shifted the haptics hardware landscape, as similar players tend to control market share around both types of actuator.
The entry barriers for players with new haptics technologies were critically high; the cheap, reliable and effective incumbents in the smartphone market have been infallible. Whilst companies large and small were able to differentiate using new technologies to provide new sensations, form factors or ideas, few came close to upsetting the status quo" Hayward writes.
Hence, new players increasingly looked away from replacing the incumbents in existing market, and instead towards the generation of brand new markets for their new haptic actuators.
The boom in interest around wearable technology brought new players and new interest. For example, smartwatches could have new haptics in the body of the device or even in the watch strap, apparel products should need actuators that are flexible with the textile rather than bulky motors, and so on.