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Asustek may leave Android Wear behind on future smartwatch

2015/02/13 21:22:13

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc. (華碩) could turn to a second mobile operating system for a future smartwatches in order to achieve longer battery life, leaving behind the Android Wear system used on its current ZenWatch, company CEO Jerry Shen (沈振來) said Friday.

Shen confirmed however that Asustek will use Google Inc.'s Android Wear in one of its second-generation ZenWatch models before any possible future changes occur.

"The major concern is about saving power," Shen said of his company's considerations on the sidelines of an Asustek investor conference.

"We will continue to work with Google on Android Wear, and we will have another (smartwatch) that is not based on Android Wear and features a longer battery life," Shen said, adding that the non-Android smartwatch may run on MediaTek Inc.'s still under-development system-on-chip.

Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih (施崇棠) said on Jan. 24 that the company's next smartwatch might come with a battery life of up to seven days by using a simplified chipset and a different mobile operating system, as opposed to today's smartwatches which typically last only around a day before needing to be recharged.

At a Dec. 24 launch event for the first ZenWatch in Taipei, Asustek let slip that it is planning a second generation watch for the third quarter of 2015.

The PC maker also said at the time that it intends to unveil two other "wristband-like" devices at a lower price, with health management features such as the ability to measure footsteps, heartbeat, pulse and blood sugar. The company did not elaborate on a timetable.

Released at a price of NT$5,990 (US$190) in Taiwan, the first-generation ZenWatch is powered by Android Wear and features a 1.63-inch AMOLED touch display, curved glass, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory and a 9-axis sensor.

According to forecasts by the Taipei-based Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center, global smartwatch shipments will reach 13.07 million units this year, up from 4.11 million in 2014.

Shipments of the Apple Inc.'s Apple Watch, which will begin in April, are likely to total 8.5 million units in 2015, accounting for 65 percent of global smartwatch shipments, the institute said.

None of the second-tier players -- including Asustek, Samsung and Sony -- are likely to gain a market share of more than 5 percent this year, given that their current products still lack outstanding features such as the Apple Pay mobile payment service, the institute predicted.

(By Jeffrey Wu)
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