The company has indicated that its first wearable device will be on sale before Christmas and will boast an improved screen and battery life.
It's only February but 2014 is already shaping up to be the year of the smartwatch. Acer and Asus have announced that they're both about to launch their first wearable technology devices and on Wednesday, sources at Samsung confirmed that as well as a new flagship smartphone, it will be unveiling a new, improved version of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch on February 24.
Now HTC chairman Cher Wang has revealed, during an interview with Bloomberg, that it too has designs on consumers' wrists and that it has been researching and developing potential products for quite some time.
"Many years ago we started looking at smartwatches and wearables, but we believe that we really have to solve the battery problems and the LCD light problems," she said in the interview. "These are customer-centric problems."
So far, smartwatches, with the notable exception of the Pebble, have failed to capture consumers' imagination or generate large sales. Yet companies appear to be racing against one another to enter the market for fear of being left behind, if the rumors prove to be true and Apple is indeed prepping an all-conquering wearable device that will do for the smartwatch market what the iPad has done to netbook and notebook sales.
If Apple does launch an 'iWatch,' smartwatch sales are forecast to surpass 36 million devices a year by 2018, or so claims Juniper Research. "By educating and publicizing this device segment to the consumer, Apple and Samsung will indeed act as a catalyst to the market. In addition, being a key influencer, these players' entry into the smart watch segment will benefit existing smart watch players -- providing an increase in awareness and adoption of other wearable devices," says the report's author, Nitin Bhas.
NextMarket Insights is much more bullish in its forecasts; it claims that by 2020 shipments of smartwatches will be 373 million annually. However, this massive figure is based on the belief that 'smart' features will start appearing on all types of watches from traditional watchmakers as well as devices being built by companies that usually stick to smartphones and tablets.
However, in January, Swatch, currently the world's largest watch maker, claimed that consumer disappointment with smartwatches would lead to a growth in demand for normal watches and as a result it had no plans to enter the wearable technology market.
In an interview with Reuters, Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek said: "We have all the know-how but we do not want to build up stock of technology bombs people won't want to buy."