Luxury sports car maker McLaren is partnering up with wearable brand Huami, and will not only be co-developing a new line of wearable products, but will also be involving Xiaomi's wearable-focused subsidiary in its esports efforts. The McLaren Shadow Project will use virtual racing challenges, among other metrics, to measure competitors mettle, and Huami's wearables will be along for the ride. Further highlighting that whether you're looking for legal online slots or the latest first-person shooter, and whether at an amateur or professional level, gaming is reaching new devices and use cases all the time.
Huami took off with its affordable yet capable Amazfit lineup of smartwatches and fitness wearables, boasting many features seen on costlier competitors along with an intuitive OS and good battery life. The relative success has given Huami some serious clout, and its ground-up development method makes it an ideal development partner for a venture like this.
On the esports side of things, McLaren will be using virtual racing challenges, such as video games, along with a suite of human performance tests and real racing tests, to name a champion in the McLaren Shadow Project. Huami's wearables will be on all competitors, and will be measuring a number of biometric stats. The goal is to figure out who's got the best ability to keep cool and go with the flow, so to speak, and withstand the rigors of racing action without fear of their body failing to keep up. The contest will be happening from January 16 to 19.
When that's all said and done, Huami and McLaren will be partnering up on developing new wearable and biometric tech and the accessories and apps that showcase them. Using data from the project, among other sources, Huami and McLaren will work together to figure out how best to create a multi-faceted wearable and accompanying apps to give consumers access to a large amount of data on their own biometrics. Details on what shape that may take are sparse at the moment.
While a whole new OS is possible, this effort could also spark development for Huami's own Amazfit OS, used on many wearables in its current product lineup. Amazfit is a bit late to the wearable OS party; Samsung's Tizen, Google's Wear OS, and Apple's Watch OS all have a significant lead in developer interest, market share, and history. Getting more features and more developers through this program may be just what Huami needs to really break into the market.
Huami's Amazfit lineup is already a force to be reckoned with in the relatively small market for cheap wearables, but hasn't really posed a threat to the big three. That might just change, if this McLaren partnership goes in just the right direction, but it's going to take a lot to overcome the established players.
The smartwatch market isn't old, but it isn't terribly crowded at this point, either, which means that Huami does have a real shot. With the stated biometric and health focus, though, it looks like these new Huami-McLaren wearables will be more likely to pose a challenge to Nokia and its Withings sub-brand of health products, but with an edge that gamers, sports fans and the like may be a bit more appreciative of.