Huawei unveils bracelet as wearable devices boom

Bloomberg and AP

Tue, Feb 25, 2014 - Page 15

Huawei Technologies Co (華為), China’s biggest smartphone maker, on Sunday unveiled its first smart bracelet at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, while LG Electronics Inc said it will launch a computerized wristwatch later this year.

Huawei said its bracelet will satisfy demand by customers who want wearable devices that can be used for everything from monitoring health to messaging functions.

“We think that wearables in the future can be a large market,” Colin Giles, an executive vice president at Shenzhen, China-based Huawei, said in an interview. “You see the integration of sensors and how devices become more miniaturized.”

Global sales of smartwatches, smartglasses and medical products were about US$10 billion last year and are forecast to triple by 2018, according to researcher IHS.

LG mobile communications division president Park Jong-seok said early smartwatch models failed to demonstrate why consumers should buy them.

He said LG’s strategy is not to release a half-baked product, but like other smartwatches, the LG smartwatch will be paired with a smartphone.

LG also announced its smartwatch plans at the mobile industry fair in Barcelona.

LG spokeswoman Kim So-yeong declined to comment on news reports that LG will manufacture an Android-powered smartwatch for Google.

LG already makes some of Google’s Nexus mobile products. Part of LG’s efforts to boost its mobile brand in the crucial North American market was to collaborate with Google.

Meanwhile, HTC Corp (宏達電), the Taiwanese smartphone maker struggling with sliding sales, also plans to demonstrate the first of three wearable devices this week in Barcelona, according to a person with direct knowledge of the plans.