Expect the word “wearables” to be worn out before we get to the end of 2014. Everyone has one, and the newest contender will be a wearable from HTC.
After much speculation, Cher Wang, Chairwoman for HTC, has confirmed that HTC will be launching a wearable device before the end of this year. According to Wang, in an interview with Bloomberg, HTC started eyeing smart watches “years ago,” but couldn’t justify releasing hardware without significant improvements to LCD lighting and battery issues as those are both “customer centric” issues.
This will come as good news to many fans of HTC as the company has long been appreciated for its premium hardware engineering when compared to its competitors, but many will also question the viability of such a venture since HTC has had financial issues and needs to improve sales of their flagship devices and increase market share before they start introducing devices for a market that is—as of yet—unproven.
However, this could be the hardware that kickstarts the market. If HTC is able to learn from those that have already tested the waters and ironed out issues with battery and display as Wang suggested, this could be one of the most solid contenders for the category, provided the hardware is on par with the likes of the HTC One lineup.
While the sequel to the HTC One is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, rumor has it that the launch of any wearable devices from HTC would be closer to the holiday season, so don’t expect any official mockups or leaked images in the near future.
Assuming it will be a smartwatch, the major competitors will be both Pebble, who recently raised the bar in smartwatch design, and Samsung, who are about to release an improved version of their Galaxy Gear smartwatch. There’s definitely room for a 3rd competitor in the ring, but HTC will need to come on strong in order to get noticed.
HTC has failed to get as much visibility as they could have in the past, due to the low priority they’ve placed on marketing, but CEO Peter Choi has said they plan to increase the focus on marketing, an initiative that has already started with the expensive—and divisive—ad campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr.
So, here’s to Change. We’ll see how successful their strategy is this year, but one thing’s for sure. Everyone likes seeing new gadgets.