Report: HTC to demo three smartwatches at Mobile World Congress (but to carriers only)
Great hardware, but poor market traction. That’s been the rip on HTC’s smartphone line-up, so the Taiwanese company is digging into wearables in a bid to get on the ground floor of a hot new product trend. And now, according to a Wednesday Bloomberg report, HTC might be bringing no fewer than three smartwatch prototypes to Mobile World Congress next week, and at least one will be demoed to carriers in closed-door meetings.
Quoting anonymous sources, Bloomberg reports that the wearable slated for carrier demos will use Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology, which appears in the Toq smartwatch pictured above. The watch in question would also include Bluetooth support and a music player—but these are smartwatch standards, so these two extra tidbits of specificity should impress no one.
HTC has already gone on the record saying that it’s hot on the wearables space, and is looking for ways to maximize battery life, so adopting Mirasol’s power-efficient display makes sense. The Toq is a rather unremarkable smartwatch, but it’s a fantastic ambassador for Qualcomm’s color-rich but battery-friendly display tech, as well as the chip company’s wireless charging tech.
Bloomberg’s sources also said HTC is working on a smartwatch featuring an AMOLED screen and focused on Google Now information services. The final wearable prototype is described as a “smart wristband” with a touchscreen display, music player, and activity-tracking features.
Does the world really need another activity-tracking wristband? Probably not, though I’m excited to see unique interpretations of the format from Razer and Sony. But a simple smartwatch dedicated entirely to Google Now services could be the wearable of the year. Imagine a device that sheds all the nonsense and baggage of an “apps ecosystem”—as if a smartwatch provides enough screen real estate for apps as we know them—and instead focuses on the small nuggets of data that Google Now delivers so well.
If HTC doesn’t make this watch, then Google must.
Bloomberg’s report clearly states that it’s unclear if all three of HTC’s wearables will receive an audience at Mobile World Congress, and notes that even the Mirasol-based watch won’t be publicly revealed. Nonetheless, the trade show in Barcelona should still host a nice public selection of products in the wearables space. And if Samsung demos the second generation of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch as expected, then we’ll really have something to talk about.
Stay tuned for more wearables coverage when Mobile World Congress action kicks into gear next week.