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ZTE is joining the smartwatch gang

With the smartwatch industry still very much in its infancy, most offerings in the rapidly developing sector have up to now failed to elicit a single “wow”, with a disappointed “oh, is that it?” perhaps a more common response.

So the fact that ZTE is set to launch a low-cost version of a product that clearly still needs some work may not cause too much excitement among tech aficionados, but perhaps we should cross our fingers in the hope that the Chinese smartphone maker may be able to in some way advance the development of such devices, perhaps come up with an innovative design that could inspire others, or possibly include features (or just one?) no one else has yet come up with.

News that ZTE is prepping a smartwatch came in a Wall Street Journal interview with Lu Qianhao, head of the Shenzhen-based firm’s handset marketing strategy.

Qianhao said his company is “focusing on the mainstream market” with its high-tech wristwatch and plans to unveil it in the first few months of next year before launching it in the second quarter.

While it would initially sell only in China, the company is interested in taking it to the North American and European markets at some point following its launch in Asia.

Like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which is only compatible with a few Samsung smartphones, ZTE’S as-yet unnamed offering will only pair with ZTE smartphones, though Qianhao said it’s possible his company will later launch variations on its watch that can pair with Android handsets made by a range of other companies.

As with most other players in the industry, ZTE appears to be firmly set on exploring the wearable tech market, with the company also considering Google Glass-style specs and smartphone-connected footwear for fitness purposes, the Journal said in its report.

Expanding fast

The smartwatch sector in particular is expanding fast, with a slew of companies launching or developing wrist-based computers of their own. While many observers have high hopes for what big hitters like Apple and Google might bring to market, neither company has so far confirmed rumors that it’s developing such a device.

Qualcomm, meanwhile, is the latest company to enter the sector, launching its $350 Toq watch for the US market in December.

Compatible with Android phones and tablets, the Toq features a a 1.55-inch touchscreen with a 288 x 192 pixel resolution (222 dpi) and is capable of wireless charging.

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