It may still be early days for the consumer smartwatch market but, according to research firm Canalys, it's Samsung and Pebble that have taken an early lead.

Although the Canalys report is based on its own data, Pebble, the Kickstarter-born smartwatch company, has already officially announced that it shipped over 500,000 smartwatches in 2014 and has shipped 1 million watches in total since it started in business in 2013.

Canalys also doesn't provide detailed breakdowns of its data but does reveal that of the initial crop of Android Wear watches, the Moto 360 is so far "the clear leader" despite its premium price tag and initial supply chain problems which limited availability.

Likewise, the company notes that the even more expensive LG G Watch R has performed "significantly better" than the brand's initial Android Wear watch, the very basic yet very affordable LG G Watch.

For the moment, at least, it would appear that Samsung is the dominant force in the smartwatch market, thanks to its decision to launch multiple devices at multiple price points on multiple operating systems.

"Samsung has launched six devices in just 14 months, on different platforms and still leads the smartband market. But it has struggled to keep consumers engaged and must work hard to attract developers while it focuses on Tizen for its wearables," said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones.

These are problems that Apple doesn't face. During his appearance at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook likened the current state of the smartwatch market to that of the mp3 player market before the launch of the iPod. The device wasn't the first but customers desired it and it became a global hit.

And when the Apple Watch finally goes on sale in April, there's a good chance that the device will become the iPod of the wearable technology device world.