Huawei chief dismisses usefulness of smartwatches

By Perveen Akhtar
Technology Correspondent

image source, AFP
image captionHuawei recently launched a new smartwatch in its own line-up

Eric Xu, chief executive of Chinese tech firm Huawei has said he doesn't see the point in smartwatches.

This is despite the fact the company launched a device during the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

He was responding to a question during the firm's analyst summit in Shenzhen, at which he was asked if smartphones are dying because of wearable tech.

Mr Xu said: "I've never figured out why we need to wear smartwatches when everything we need is on our phones."

Mr Xu, who is one of three rotating CEOs at Huawei, each serving six months at a time, is also reported by Forbes to have said: "I'm not a man who wears watches, and I've never been optimistic about this market."

image source, Huawei
image captionHuawei launched its latest range of smartwatches at Mobile World Congress

His comments have not come as a surprise to some in the industry.

"Smartwatches are a solution looking for a problem, rather than being a game-changer," Ben Wood, an analyst at tech consultancy CCS Insight told the BBC.

Mr Wood also praised Mr Xu's honesty, saying: "It's one view of just one of the three chief executives at Huawei."

The smartwatch sector has been dominated by tech firms such as Apple and Samsung.

However, fashion and luxury watch manufacturers also announced their interest in the devices at the recent Baselworld trade show.

Brands such as Guess, Montblanc and Movado, all revealed plans for new Android Wear smartwatches during the event.

They join TAG Heuer and Fossil, which operates a portfolio of watch brands including Michael Kors, Skagen and Armani Exchange.

Mr Wood said there has been a lot of progress since the early offerings created by "middle aged engineers" in what he described as a "sea of sameness."

He added: "2017 is a pivotal year for smartwatches with lots of new launches at the end of this year. That doesn't guarantee success, but with a lot of them, we'll see if people want them."

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