Roll up, roll up, for the latest smartwatch wars: HTC, Samsung, Sony all throw hats into the ring
With the expected launch – and subsequent hype – of the Apple Watch, due out in the first quarter of this year, it’s not a huge surprise to see other tech giants chancing their arm in the space.
While wearable tech was a major factor at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) earlier this month, there seemed to be a communal lethargy towards another generation of fitness trackers and smartwatches.
Yet reports are appearing on Samsung, Sony, and now HTC over their plans to release new smartwatches in the coming months.
Samsung’s latest offering, according to a detailed blog post from SamMobile, is codenamed ‘Orbis’, and will be released at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in March, according to Business Insider. The watch will have a crown-shaped power button and a rotating bezel ring on top – which sounds rather similar to the Apple Watch.
Sony, by contrast to the high end ‘Orbis’, has announced the release of the SmartBand talk and SmartWatch 3 in India. A recent Tech Radar review criticised the SmartWatch 3’s looks – let’s put it this way, you wouldn’t be able to fool someone at TAG Heuer over its aesthetics – yet added it was “a powerful and well equipped wearable with a good screen and reasonable battery life.” The watch is being sold for Rs 19,990 and will cue in with Lifelog.
HTC is also looking to exhibit at MWC, according to a Bloomberg report, which argues the Taiwanese company is looking to move into smartwatches to escape the slowing smartphone market. According to a spokesperson, the wearable will be worn on the wrist as a fitness tracker of sorts, but would be “very different from anything currently on the market.”
Regardless, the overall effect is for these firms to take some market share away from the Apple Watch. 41% of respondents in an Accellion survey last month expect to see it in their organisation in the coming year, while recent figures from ABI Research indicate iOS will gain a 35% adoption rate in the smartwatch sector, behind Android at 42%.
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