ZTE's own forthcoming smartwatch device will only work with ZTE smartphones when it launches early next year, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The Chinese smartphone maker already confirmed that it has smartwatch devices in the works for the second quarter of 2014, but this new word is the first that those devices will be limited in their smartphone compatibility. The limitations on device compatibility may help to ensure a larger feature set for ZTE's devices, but it will also almost certainly limit their attractiveness in the consumer electronics market.
ZTE is seventh-largest smartphone manufacturer by shipment volume in its home country of China, and the company is leagues behind the market leader, Samsung, which also makes Android and Windows Phone devices like ZTE does. In the third quarter, ZTE's share of the market fell from 10 percent in 2012 to just five percent.
ZTE's decision to have its devices only be compatible with its own phones could prove to be the continuation of a trend in the industry. Samsung, too, made its Galaxy Gear device compatible only with the Galaxy Note 3 upon its release. The company has since expanded the range of compatible devices, but the smartwatch still only functions within Samsung's Galaxy line.
The wearable technology market is seen by many to be on the verge of a big boom, as many tech giants are said to be working on their own wrist- and face-mounted devices. Apple is thought to be putting considerable resources into a smartwatch, while Google has bought a smartwatch maker and continues to prep its Google Glass device. Samsung has already entered the segment with its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and Microsoft is also said to be plotting one or more wearable devices.