We’re only a few months in, but it already seems like 2014 will be the year of the smartwatch.
HTC, which previously revealed that it’s developing a smartwatch for release this year, is reportedly planning to show off its first watch next week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Bloomberg reports.
That smartwatch is apparently a prototype based on Qualcomm’s Toq watch — a device that always seemed more like the blueprint for spinoffs rather than a genuine smartwatch competitor. The smartwatch will reportedly use one of Qualcomm’s Mirasol displays, which allows it to be visible in bright sunlight (and save battery life in the process). Manufacturers typically give carriers an early look at their devices for feedback and to line up potential partnerships before they’re released.
Samsung will reportedly unveil some new versions of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch next week at Mobile World Congress, including one running its open source Tizen OS, not Android.
Perhaps even more intriguing is word that HTC is also working on a smartwatch powered by Google Now, Google’s predictive computing technology. That could allow the smartwatch to alert you of upcoming appointments, transit delays, and more, rather than just serving as a way to get basic notifications from your phone, like most other smartwatches.
I’m a big fan of Google Now. It’s Android’s best feature, and it’s getting smarter every day. If implemented correctly, it could just be the killer app the smartwatch category needs.
Additionally, Bloomberg notes that HTC is also working on a smart wristband that can be used to play music and track your activity — think of it like a media-powered Nike Fuel or Jawbone Up.
At this point, HTC hasn’t committed to making any of these devices, but it’s certainly heartening that they all sound more interesting than Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch.