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ZTE to Launch Smartwatch That Only Works with its Own Phones in 2014

We’ve seen major manufacturers such as Samsung and Sony delve into the smartwatch space, and now lesser-known smartphone brands are following suit. ZTE is reportedly preparing a smartwatch of its own for launch in the second quarter of 2014.

Lu Qianhao, head of the China-based phone maker’s marketing strategy, shared these plans with The Wall Street Journal. ZTE’s wrist-worn gadget is said to offer features similar to those of other smartwatches on the market such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear. However, ZTE is expected to target a lower price range in order to appeal to budget-minded consumers in China.

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“We are focusing on the mainstream market,” Qianhao said to the WSJ.

ZTE’s wearable device is similar to Samsung’s, in that it will only be compatible with its own smartphones, but the company may test other models with wider compatibility in the future. ZTE is also considering expanding into other wearable tech genres, such as smart glasses and “smartphone-connected shoes” for healthcare purposes, although the company has no launch plans for these gadgets just yet.

Although ZTE isn’t the biggest name in mobile, the company says that its forthcoming watch should help make its smartphones more attractive. The watch is expected to roll out in China initially, but may eventually enter the U.S. and European markets following its Q2 2014 release.

ZTE is just one of many smartphone vendors entering the wearable tech market. Not only will ZTE compete against the likes of industry heavyweights such as Sony and Samsung, but it will also rival crowd-funded startups including Pebble, Kreyos and Neptune Pine. While smartwatches aren’t a crucial part of the mainstream consumer tech market just yet, the industry is expected to hit 373 million units by 2020.