In what can only be described as an "intriguing" move, ZTE will soon enter the smartwatch arena. However, their smartwatches will only work with their own devices, which at first sounds like a pretty bad idea but, ZTE is thinking of their home market here. The Wall Street Journal is running a piece on the Chinese company looking to get in on the smartwatch game by offering a device similar to this year's Galaxy Gear from Samsung. On the surface, it'll feature many of the same things but, come in at a lower price-point.
Talking to the WSJ in an interview, Lu Qianhao, head of the Shenzhen-based company's handset marketing strategy, said that they were trying their best to hit the mainstream market. Which, for a very China-centric company like ZTE, means that the price needs to be right. It's debatable that the Galaxy gear is just too expensive for the wearable market of today. The same thing happened with Android tablets, the Nexus 7 was a hit because of its price more anything and since then, prices of tablets have risen just a little bit but, users are still happy with what they're paying for.
What seems like another smartwatch mistake to us is that ZTE's watch would only work with their own devices. It's hard not to see why, after all it could boost their brand presence and it could certainly give their phones a boost at home in China. However, the smartwatch is likely to be built on top of Android – as most others are – and so we see no reason why the device can't work with all Bluetooth-enabled devices. Sony's SmartWatch 2 for instance works with pretty much any Android smartphone, which instantly widens Sony's net of potential customers. When we're talking about a still very small customer-base, capturing as much of it as possible is important.
Make no mistake, smartwatches aren't going anywhere and now that Samsung has thrown their hat into the ring with the Gear, we're only going to see more and more of them. CES 2014 is going to be an interesting event and we're sure smartwatches will feature heavily.