Almost all wearable technology products fall into the premium category at the moment, with Google Glass costing $1,500 (if you can get one), Samsung’s Galaxy Gear at $300, and even the relatively feature-lite Pebble smartwatch and Nike FuelBand SE are priced at $150 each. It’s still early days for wearable tech though, and prices will fall as more companies start to give the market a try.
We could see this happen from early next year, as in an interview with the Financial Times, ZTE Vice President He Shiyou has confirmed the company will launch its first smartwatch in 2014. Although he doesn’t provide an exact date, he told the publication it could be within the first three months of the year.
A ZTE smartwatch would only be the start, as it’s likely to be followed by a pair of high-tech glasses, which would presumably work in a similar way to Google Glass. However, he admits the development period for hardware like this is much longer than that of a smartwatch, so we shouldn’t expect them both to launch at the same time.
ZTE is best known for its low-cost Android smartphones, but even its higher-end devices are cheaper than comparable phones from Samsung or HTC. Any smartwatch released by the company should also be more reasonably priced than existing efforts, although there will always be a question mark over international availability of such a product.
In the same interview, it’s revealed ZTE will also return to producing Windows Phone hardware in the future. Microsoft visited ZTE recently to reassure company executives it had no intention of abandoning partners, despite its purchase of Nokia’s devices division.
So when could all these new ZTE products arrive? If it stays true to its word, then Mobile World Congress in late February sounds like a possible smartwatch launchpad. This also leaves plenty of time for it to come up with a Windows Phone device which takes advantage of the newly released software too.