Wed, Oct 23, 2013 - Page 14 News List

HTC to develop Android smartwatch amid woes


HTC Corp (宏達電) is developing a smartwatch that uses Google Inc’s Android software and can take pictures, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Cost, full functions and sales strategy for the watch are still to be decided before it is released by the second half of next year, said the person, who asked not to be named because the plans are not public.

The smartwatch will join a growing segment of wearable technology that already includes devices from Samsung Electronics Co and Sony Corp.

Retail sales of Internet-

connected wearable devices, including watches and eyeglasses, will reach US$19 billion by 2018, compared with US$1.4 billion this year, Juniper Research said in a report on Tuesday last week.

Samsung’s smartwatch, the US$299 Galaxy Gear, went on sale on Sept. 25, while Apple Inc has a team of designers working on a watch-like device, two people familiar with the matter said in February.

HTC yesterday said in an e-mail that it does not comment on rumors or speculation.

The company’s shares climbed 6.9 percent to close at NT$139.50 after the Financial Times reported that Peter Chou (周永明), the company’s chief executive officer, has transferred some of his duties to chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) to focus on innovation.

Chou, who took over as president in 2004, has struggled to compete with devices from Apple, Samsung and an array of Chinese entrants driving prices down.

Wang yesterday gathered workers at a town-hall style meeting to tell them the Taiwanese smartphone maker needs to improve its customer focus, HTC chief marketing officer Ben Ho (何永生) said in an interview.

Wang, who was joined by Chou, held a 90-minute meeting with workers, including a question-and-answer session, Ho said.

Wang emphasized the importance of after sales service to ensure customer loyalty and repeat business for the company’s handsets, Ho added.

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