ZTE is to join the smart watch party next year, which could mean the emergence of lower cost products in this sector, Financial Times said.
The ambitious Chinese vendor is currently investing in wearable computing projects, including smart glasses as well as the smart watch. The latter product will be launched “as early as the first quarter”, the report said, citing He Shiyou, head of the company’s handset business.
While the smart watch market is heating up when measured by column inches, there is little sign that as yet this is matched by consumer demand.
Samsung is reported to have said it sold 800,000 of its Galaxy Gear watches, although there is some debate as to whether this figure counts devices reaching consumers, or products sold into the channel.
This figure came after reports originating from South Korea claimed the company had sold just 50,000 of the devices, indicating lukewarm demand from consumers.
Smart watch start-up Pebble has said that 190,000 of its products are in use, while Sony has claimed around half a million units of its first two smart watches found buyers – it has not given any numbers for its 3rd generation product, SmartWatch 2, which launched earlier this year.
ZTE’s move into the wearables market comes as it looks to build its market share to move out of the gaggle of smartphone makers with similar share who generally fill the market’s third, fourth and fifth spots. This includes domestic rivals Huawei and Lenovo, as well as LG Electronics.