In short: Huami has now announced a new Amazfit Verge smartwatch, fitness-centric Health Band 1S wearable, and Huangshan No. 1 wearable-specific chipset via a post on China's Weibo. The new wearable SoC isn't planned for release until 2019 but features a low-power always-on sensor module, integrated SRAM, and a clock of 240MHz. That's all designed to serve built-in AI processing on the smartwatch level. The Mi-branded Health Band 1S is an IP67-rated bracelet-style wearable with low power sensors for step counting and taking other metrics, in addition to an ECG sensor for detecting irregularities in heart rate. Its 95 mAh battery can provide power for up to seven days, while its 1.42-inch OLED display and the housing for the sensors weighs in at just 10 grams without the band. Bluetooth 4.0 rounds out the build for smartphone connectivity via a mobile application at a price of just $101.
The Amazfit Verge, on the other hand, is a full smartwatch priced at approximately $116. For that price, consumers get a 1.3-inch round display with Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 and an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. A 1.2GHz dual-core SoC powers the device along with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. That's packed with sensors as well and Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, NFC, and geopositioning systems are included for connectivity. Weight is claimed at around 5-days and weight is set at 46 grams.
Background: Amazfit has been building smartwatches for quite some time and although these won't necessarily break the mold, they do build on the previous offerings from the Xiaomi-partnered company. For starters, the Amazfit Verge seems to fall much more in line with features found in a watch built around Google's Wear OS, although that particular OS isn't found here. The proprietary OS appears to be much more refined and to allow for more diverse controls in terms of controlling phone calls and other similar functionality. The band, on the other hand, looks like a much more sleek design than previous entries in the Mi-branded health wearable series'.
Impact: Meanwhile, Huami has not previously built a SoC specifically catering to the wearables market. Its on-paper specifications and claims from the company won't be verified until it officially begins to be shipped in smartwatches and bands in the first half of next year. That doesn't mean it won't have any effect on the market. Wearables, in general, have depended on Qualcomm for processing and a new competitor may be just the catalyst the industry needs to diversify and improve sales in some regions where popularity hasn't quite taken off.