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Huawei: smartwatches need more features to be popular

Smartwatches are cool (if rather geeky) gadgets, and they’ve yet to really capture the hearts of the general public. But perhaps that’s about to change, as Huawei reckons it knows how to make the public full in love with the wrist-worn wearable. 

TechRadar sat down with Huawei’s President of Consumer Strategy, Shao Yang at CES 2017 to find out what the Chinese firm believes will see smartwatches adorn wrists around the world.

“The wearable’s biggest challenge is getting people to wear it all the time,” Yang explained. “People usually use them for a few weeks or months and then stop using them altogether.” 

Yang went on to say that the lack of regularly used features and short battery life were hampering the smartwatch’s ability to be truly accepted by users. 

The solution? Increase battery life and stuff them full of features.

More features, more likely to buy

“We’re looking at how we can extend smartwatch usage with three to four days of battery life, and adding phone calling capabilities which can work independently from a smartphone,” Yang said. 

“Wearables need to connect to more devices as well – such as Amazon’s Alexa – and by doing this it will make them the new hardware of the people.” 

In short Huawei wants to remove the reliance the smartwatch has on your smartphone, making them independent devices in their own right and a piece of tech you’ll have to have. 

“If people find they have so many uses for a watch, they are more likely to buy one.” 

Thing is, we’ve already seen some feature-packed smartwatches and they have flopped. LG’s Watch Urbane LTE is a prime example of a connected smartwatch which struggled to make it out of the factory, let alone onto people’s wrists.  

There has also been a number of Kickstarter projects which have attempted to put a smartphone into a smartwatch – devices such as the Neptune Pine and Rufus Cuff – but again they failed to really deliver and gain traction. 

It leaves us wondering if Huawei’s idea of stuffing smartwatches full of features really will result in consumers using the wearables more consistently – especially with the restriction in screen size, battery capacity and processing power. 

Yang wouldn’t say exactly when we can expect another wearable from Huawei, but the second half of 2017 looks like the most likely time for this potential wearable revolution.

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John McCann

John joined TechRadar a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs of some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.