Chinese mobile device maker ZTE says it will launch a smartwatch device in the first quarter of 2014, according to a new report. He Shiyou, executive vice president and head of ZTE's handset business, told The Financial Times on Sunday that the firm will enter the burgeoning wearable technology market next quarter with a smartwatch, and he hinted that ZTE is also looking into connected eyewear like Google's Glass device. The ZTE exec also reaffirmed his company's commitment to making phones running Windows Phone 8 operating system, despite the fact that Microsoft has entered the phone hardware market with its purchase of Nokia's mobile operations.
He says that ZTE will continue in its efforts to expand ZTE's brand and make the company a household name on the level with Apple, Samsung, and others. The company's handset operations will play a decided role in that effort, but so too will its forthcoming wearable devices..
"The next three years will be critical for ZTE's devices business. There is a window of opportunity to push ZTE into the top three in terms of market share," he said.
He only confirmed that ZTE was investing research and development for wearable technologies. The company's watch offerings could come as early as the first quarter, though He gave no firm time frame. The connected glasses, though, will likely take more development.
Analysts expect that wearable technology is the next big development in the digital sphere. Already, tech giants such as Samsung have launched wearable devices, and other tech industry players are rumored to be working on their own devices. By 2015, ZTE expects that the market for wearable devices will exceed 100 million sales, despite low current demand for them.
With regard to Microsoft, He said that the Nokia acquisition initially gave the Chinese firm pause, but that assurances from Microsoft eased those concerns. According to He, Microsoft executives visited ZTE this month in order to reassure the company that the software giant still wanted to maintain an alliance of handset makers on the Windows Phone platform.