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Asustek mulling successor to unlaunched smartwatch

2014/08/12 20:42:50

Taipei, Aug. 12 (CNA) Even though Asustek Computer Inc. has not yet launched its first smartwatch, the Taiwanese PC maker is already considering its next wearable device, thanks to its high market expectations.

Asustek CEO Jerry Shen told an investors' conference Tuesday that his company could debut its smartwatch as early as September at the IFA electronics trade show in Germany, with aggressive marketing efforts to promote the device.

He said the Asustek smartwatch has been well-received by Google Inc., which selected Asustek as one of its hardware partners for the Android Wear initiative in March, as the new watch looks better than competitors' products but comes with a relatively low price tag.

Android Wear is a version of Google's Android operating system designed specifically for wearable devices. The U.S. search giant said it is working with several hardware manufacturers and chipmakers to build new devices based on Android Wear.

"We're dreaming big about the future of wearable devices, but the dream will not come true this year or in the first half of next year because the market demand has not picked up," Shen said at the investors' conference.

This means that the wearable business is not expected to contribute greatly to Asustek's revenue during its first smartwatch's life cycle over the next nine months, and the company is likely to release a second-generation model of the watch, Shen noted.

He did not give specifics on the first Asustek smartwatch or the development of the second-generation watch.

Asustek's wearable business marks its attempt to jump onto a bandwagon already occupied by Sony Corp.'s SmartWatch and Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy Gear.

In October 2013, Japan-based Sony launched its new SmartWatch 2, a water-resistant watch that connects to Android devices via Bluetooth or near-field communication (NFC) wireless technology.

South Korea's Samsung also debuted new smartwatches, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade fair in February this year.

According to research firm Canalys, smartwatch shipments are forecast to reach 8 million this year and could nearly triple to more than 23 million units by 2015 and 45 million by 2017.

(By Jeffrey Wu)
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