Huawei to Unveil Smart Ring, Smart Watch -- But Not at CES

Chinese Device Maker Prepping Bigger U.S. Marketing Push

By Published on .

Many device makers are showing off smart watches this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show. But after CES, Chinese hardware manufacturer Huawei will unveil an even smaller wearable device.

Huawei will announce a smart ring and smart watch at next month's Mobile World Congress in Spain, said Huawei's VP-device marketing Shao Yang in an interview.

Huawei's CES booth
Huawei's CES booth

Mr. Yang declined to provide details regarding how the devices will work or when they will be available in market. Neither device is on display at Huawei's CES booth as the brand is instead touting its smartphone and tablet line.

"Every year we develop a lot of new devices. Some are launching at CES, some at Mobile World Congress, some [are] independent launches," Mr. Yang said. He also said that "wearable categories attract a lot of buzz."

Indeed they do. A challenger brand, Huawei hopes the wearable devices -- as well as its smartphones and tablets -- will catch consumers' attentions and ride it to the top of its category as Samsung has done in recent years. Samsung debuted its own smart watch, the Galaxy Gear, last fall, but has not said anything about a smart ring.

Huawei claims to be the number-three smartphone provider worldwide behind Samsung and Apple, but has less of of a foothold in the U.S. because it has only marketed mid- and low-end smartphones stateside. Huawei intends to change that in 2014. "This year are going to bring the high-end phone to the U.S.," Mr. Yang said, adding that the device will hit stores during the first half of the year.

Mr. Yang was unable to provide specifics of Huawei's U.S. marketing plan because he oversees global marketing rather than individual country campaigns. Last year Huawei's U.S. marketing included sponsoring the Jonas Brothers tour and a partnership with the film "Thor: The Dark World."

Huawei's smartphone may fare better than a smart ring. Even smart watches have been met with skepticism.

"The category of the smart watch, that's just a train wreck right now. People are trying to basically pack all of the stuff in the phone on a watch. We're talking about keyboards that are one-inch wide…No one's going to adopt that," said Zachary Jean Paradis, director of innovation strategy at SapientNitro.

Observers will have to wait a month to see if Huawei intends to cram a keyboard into a screen wrapped around someone's finger.

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