The Huawei Watch is arguably the best designed Android Wear smartwatch and while it is set to launch in several markets in Q3, it may be delayed for several months in Huawei’s home country of China. Announced at MWC 2015 in February, the Huawei Watch looks set to go on sale in the US and Europe in the coming months but faces significant delays in China according to Yang Yong, the company’s wearables manager.
According to the WSJ, Mr. Yang cited that the delays were caused by Google’s Android Wear operating system, saying: “We’re experiencing some problems with Google’s Android Wear [the watch’s operating system] in China“. Attempting to justify the delay, Yang said “It’s a new product” before adding that the Apple Watch was also delayed ahead of its launch a month ago.
Google’s wearable platform launched a year ago but as Google services don’t run in China, Huawei will face difficulty offering the Android Wear-powered Huawei Watch to users in its home market. Despite these issues, Mr. Yang said the company is sticking with Google’s OS for future smartwatches and has ruled out using the proprietary interface of its TalkBand fitness tracker range in future smartwatches.
The Huawei Watch met a great reaction when it was announced at MWC 2015 as it offered the classic style of a classic wristwatch with a physical button and premium specs. Available in three colours – Black, Silver and Gold – the Watch is expected to launch at £300 in the UK for the Black and Silver versions, while the Gold colour will set you back an extra £50.
The physical button is placed at the 2 o’clock position, which is more natural than the traditional 90-degree angle at 3 o’clock. The specs lists is similar to other Android Wear smartwatches but unlike Apple, there’s only one size available; 42mm diameter which is quite large. The 1.4-inch AMOLED display has sapphire crystal protection and the 400×400 pixels resolution offers an outstanding density of 286 pixels per inch.
Other notable specs include a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage, a 300mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.1 and a heart-rate monitor. While the specs are similar to its rivals, the design of the Huawei Watch is what truly sets it apart. A choice of stainless steel or leather strap adorns the watch face, which is larger than you might expect but still feels comfortable on the wrist.
Mr. Yang also revealed that the company has used the delay to improve the design further, making the watch less bulky and more akin to the design of a classical time piece. When discussing the design, Yang also confirmed that with manufacturers limited by the changes they can make to Android Wear – Huawei wants more freedom to customise – it considers the design the main way to differentiate against the competition.
The relatively new smartwatch market also means that Huawei are predicting new smartwatches won’t be released every year and instead will be on a slower release cycle. He said:
“The technical development isn’t as fast as in smartphones, so I don’t think, we will presenting a new smartwatch every year,”