In a refreshing change, a Chinese device manufacturer favors foreign markets over its fertile homeland for a high-profile product launch, although not intentionally.
Early intelligent wearable adopters already have the affordable Moto 360 and luxury LG Watch Urbane to choose from if the Apple Watch feels a little cumbersome or rough around the edges. But there’s no such thing as too many circular, stylish smartwatch options. Is there?
Well, Samsung and Huawei certainly don’t think so, aiming to invigorate the fledgling landscape, currently dominated by rudimentary sub-$100 fitness bands. Alas, the cellular-enabled Gear A is unlikely to see daylight before fall, when it’s expected alongside the Galaxy Note 5 phablet, while the aptly titled Huawei Watch needs to clear big hurdles on its way to stores.
First unveiled at the Mobile World Congress back on March 1, and unjustly accused of preposterous pricing ambitions, the premium timepiece still requires software fine-tuning. Otherwise, its functionality is profoundly damaged, and you end up paying $300+ for a fancy, useless, time-telling accessory.
Sounds serious, and it is, but fortunately, the debacle won’t harm Huawei Watch’s immediate global domination aspirations. Just its short-term domestic objectives. Until its makers can tweak and adapt all of Google’s proprietary services for the Chinese market, the gadget has to stay on the sidelines.
The optimization work was initially estimated to take but a few months, although a more realistic regional ETA now calls for a 2016 release. Meanwhile, in Europe and North America, nothing changes. The Huawei Watch will go on sale as production ramps up, sometime during Q3, i.e. between July and September.
Bottom line, it’s a classic good news – bad news scenario, and the latter part could have been avoided if only Big G made Android Wear as open to third-party customization as the smartphone and tablet-dedicated OS.
Besides, to help ease the pain of waiting, Huawei promises to work on the Watch’s design, and ultimately dole out a slimmer, sleeker gizmo in the Middle Kingdom.