HTC and fitness brand partner Under Armour have been working on a smartwatch together, and a leak reveals the co-branded Android Wear device previously rumoured as the HTC Halfbeak. Leaked through the Chinese social network Weibo, images show a circular smartwatch with Google’s wearable operating system installed, but don’t expect to see anything other than a prototype.
There are five images in total, several of which show the watch operating, but only in test mode. The watch uses Android Wear 5.1.1, a version of the software released more than a year ago, which has been superseded several times since then. This may mean the watch we’re seeing is an old prototype. There’s more evidence the watch has had a difficult life, with one picture showing the thick silicone or rubber strap with a split in it. It’s not clear how old the leaked images are, but we’ve been hearing about the Halfbeak, and HTC’s smartwatch plans in general, for sometime.
A view of the watch’s underside gives us a look at a heart rate sensor, and the dual HTC and Under Armour branding. The two companies entered into a partnership at the beginning of 2015, and rumors quickly spread of an impending smartwatch release. A year later, HTC and Under Armour released a collection of health and fitness products together, including a fitness band and heart rate monitoring chest strap. Several months ago, another rumor said the Halfbeak’s release had been delayed again, this time to the end of 2016.
The Halfbeak smartwatch pictured doesn’t look ready for sale. Regardless of the software installed, the design is less like a watch made in 2016, and more like one made in 2015 — again hinting we’re seeing an old test device. Additionally, Android Wear itself is facing troubled times, from the Android Wear 2.0 release delay, to Huawei, Lenovo, and LG saying they won’t have any new watches at all this year. HTC hasn’t had the best 2016 either, and a smartwatch that doesn’t shake things up may not help its cause. While we’d be surprised if the Halfbeak watch seen here hits the shelves, it may have inspired the development of something more exciting, which we’ll hope to see in the future.