New smartwatch from ZTE to come to Chinese market

Above: Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch -- will the next one take phone calls?

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

More smartwatch options are coming. ZTE is the latest company to devote resources to such a device and promises that its version will be cheaper than the Samsung Gear.

The Chinese company will launch the smartwatch in the first quarter of 2014, product marketing lead Lu Qianhao told the Wall Street Journal. It will be officially available for purchase the following quarter. Lu explained that while the watch will specifically target the “mainstream market” in China, it will be similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Gear device.

Samsung launched the Gear in September to lackluster reviews. The Android-powered watch, which connects to specific Samsung mobile devices, shows you a variety of notifications including text messages and emails. It will also let you answer phone calls from the device.

ZTE notes that its watch will only be able to connect to ZTE phones.

The Gear is fairly large and not the most attractive watch on the market. VentureBeat mobile senior editor Devindra Hardawar called its design “passable, but nothing memorable.” And it seems others agree. In the months following its release, a leaked Best Buy memo stated that the watch had a 30 percent return rate.

Perhaps as an attempt to diversify in case the watch falls flat, the Journal reports that ZTE is also looking into other smart devices including glasses and shoes.

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