HTC is now among the several major tech companies rumored to release a smartwatch in 2014. The Taiwan-based smartphone maker is said to have a wristwatch in its pipeline that will run on Android and features a built-in camera, according to Bloomberg.
The publication doesn’t cite its sources, but claims that a person familiar with the matter said an HTC smartwatch is on tap for the second half of next year. Other details such as price and features have yet to be disclosed.
Bloomberg’s report comes just after HTC CEO Peter Chou and chairwoman Cher Wang hinted at HTC’s intentions to delve into the wearable tech market. The executives called it a “critical segment” for HTC when speaking with The Financial Times, although Chou alluded that we shouldn’t expect an HTC smartwatch anytime soon.
“It’s still too early,” Chou said on the topic of wearable tech. “It has to meet a need, otherwise if it’s just a gimmick or concept.”
HTC joins the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Google and Nokia in contributing to the smartwatch rumor mill. Apple is expected to launch an iWatch in the second half of 2014, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Judging by Apple’s wearable tech patent filed in February, Apple’s purported iWatch will feature a flexible, slap bracelet-like design. At the same time, Nokia filed a patent for a smartwatch with multiple displays just last week. Microsoft and Google also hold wearable tech patents that suggest they could edge into the smartwatch market.
The news that HTC may be crafting a smartwatch also comes on the heels of its first quarterly loss. This is partially due to the fact that HTC has been losing ground to Apple and Samsung in the smartphone space, the latter of which already released a smartwatch in September known as the Galaxy Gear. Although smartwatches and other forms of wearable tech are still transitioning from niche markets to mainstream usage, the industry is expected to boom over the next several years. A report from NextMarketInsights last month predicted that the smartwatch market will jump from 15 million shipped in 2014 to 373 million by 2020.