HTC is working on three wearables which it’s planning to preview privately to carriers at next week’s Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona, according to a report in Bloomberg.
The three devices are said to consist of two smartwatches, one focusing on Google Now’s cards based recommendations feature, and another device based on Qualcomm’s Toq smartwatch, which was really just a hardware showcase for OEMs. (The Toq link tallies with a January report by ReadWrite’s Dan Rowinski that reported HTC had licensed Qualcomm’s Toq hardware and designs.)
The third wearable HTC is working on is apparently an “electronic bracelet that plays music”. Teenagers on buses are going to get considerably more irritating if the latter device becomes a successful commercial reality.
The news agency said the device details come from “a person with direct knowledge of the plans” — and that person also told it HTC has not decided if it will publicly demo any of these wearables next week, or simply allow carriers to have a sniff.
HTC declined to comment on the report when contacted by TechCrunch.
The mobile maker has been fighting sliding marketshare in the smartphone space for more than a year — so it’s likely viewing the rise of wearables, and the opportunity a nascent device space provides, as a potential lifeline for its business, over and above its stated aim of making more affordably priced phone slabs, targeting the $150 to $300 price range.
Earlier this month chairman, Cher Wang, told Bloomberg HTC would release its first wearable device by Christmas, although she did not provide details on exactly what form the device would take — so today’s report puts some more meat on those bones.
She did say HTC has spent “years” on wearable development and tackling technical challenges such as ensuring a smartwatch has long enough battery life to be useful.
“Many years ago we started looking at smartwatches and wearables, but we believe that we really have to solve the battery problems and the LCD light problems,” she told the news agency. “These are customer-centric problems.”
These latest wearable hints follow some leaks around HTC’s forthcoming new smartphones. Yesterday a leaked image of an update to HTC’s flagship One was tweeted by the @evleaks Twitter account — sporting a new gold colourway (with silver and grey named as the other colour options for the flagship), and with camera enhancements apparently on board.
@evleaks has since tweeted an image of the charcoal grey version of the handset — along with specs for what sounds like a more mid-range forthcoming HTC smartphone, painted in a range of brighter colours:
HTC A5: MSM8928 (1.6GHz x4), 5.5" 720p SuperLCD2, 1.5GB/8GB (+microSD), 13MP/5MP, Sense 6.0, BoomSound, black/white/red/yellow/purple.—
@evleaks (@evleaks) February 20, 2014