The HTC Halfbeak Android Wear watch has appeared once again, this time presented in greater detail on Weibo. In the photographs it appears that the HTC Halfbeak is running an old version of Android Wear and Google Play Services, which dates back from mid-2015. The device itself appears to be the same as the one which has already been seen. It has two hardware buttons on the right side of the watch face, and the strap appears to be rubber and there are both HTC and Under Armour logos on the rear of the device.
That the device is running an older version of Android Wear lends weight to the supposition that the HTC Halfbeak is an abandoned prototype. Google’s unreleased, up-and-coming Android Wear 2.0 software is likely more demanding than the original Android Wear 1.x software releases and if this prototype dates back almost two years, it is possible that it would give customers a poor user experience if it were released running Android Wear 2.0. There have also been rumors and reports that HTC was working on an Android Wear device since at least the time Google announced the new platform, but the company was reported to have canned the project some time ago. After a moderate start, smartwatch sales have struggled with even the market leader, the Apple Watch, not setting the world alight with sales figures. We have seen relatively few Android Wear devices released over the last twelve months and Google has delayed the release of Android Wear 2.0, which appear to have exacerbated the struggling sales. Manufacturers have delayed or postponed the release of new Android Wear devices, perhaps waiting for the new software or for a resurgence in sales.
HTC is already a company offering a solid product but facing the difficulties of Apple and Samsung’s marketing clout. The company have have wisely decided it was not going to manufacture and release a product into a market already struggling for sales. Still, Mobile World Congress starts at the end of February and perhaps HTC are working on a new fitness-based smartwatch to be sold in conjunction with the Under Armour brand. There should be some clarity in the coming weeks – but with companies such as Fitbit buying up the competition, it would be a difficult time to launch a new smartwatch into the market.