According to HTC, the company may have found the secret sauce to making smartwatches a success and something that consumers will want to, and can, wear all the time. HTC chairwoman Cher Wang went on the record with Bloomberg to confirm that the company is currently working a smartwatch, expanding the company’s product line beyond smartphones like the flagship HTC One, and that such a wearable device could launch as early as the end of this year.
“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,” Wang said. “These are customer-centric problems.”
Battery life has been a concern with a few of the smartwatches on the market today. Pebble uses a black and white e-ink display while Qualcomm’s Toq uses a Mirasol screen to help extend battery life. On the other hand, companies like Samsung are releasing devices like the Galaxy Gear, which uses either an AMOLED-based or LED-based screen. Those displays, when used on a smartwatch, last only a few days on a single charge.
At this point, it’s still unclear how HTC will solve the problems with battery life while also using an LCD display on a smartwatch.
Rival Apple is also rumored to be tackling the battery life issue of its much rumored iWatch smartwatch. Based on filed patent applications, the iWatch may rely on solar power, which could be embedded under the watch’s display, along with wireless charging to extend the battery life of the gadget.
With wearables and smartwatches, having long battery life isn’t just essential because these devices bear the same form factors as traditional watches, which could go for years without requiring a recharge. It’s also important as manufacturers intend to add health and fitness sensors to these devices to monitor information such as pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, and other data. If a user has to take off their watches frequently to recharge, then the monitoring of this data would be interrupted, and the data may become less useful. Further, if a wearer forgets to wear their watches when those devices are done charging, then the utility of these devices would be negated.
With HTC’s designers receiving accolades over the HTC One’s gorgeous design, it will be exciting to see what the company creates for a smartwatch.