Huawei’s converged smart wristband/headset
A few days ago WTW commented that smart wristbands and smartwatches are on a collision course – and at Mobile World Congress, Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer Huawei has come out with a boldly-priced converged device that takes the next step down this path.
It’s billed as “the world’s first hybrid smart band”, but instead of combining smartwatch and wristband functionality, the new Huawei TalkBand B1 takes a left-field approach, by resurrecting the humble Bluetooth earpiece headset. This is also a cheeky potshot at wristband early innovator Jawbone, which built on its headphone heritage to originally define the smart wristband category of wearable technology way back in 2012.
The new Huawei (pronounced “wah way”) device packs an OLED display and Bluetooth LE connectivity into the detachable earpiece, and includes a pedometer. The device also docks into a wristband, which is also the charging station via a USB port on the band’s tip.
At launch, Huawei enigmatically has not provided all the answers. WTW spoke to UK-based product director James Powell, who explained that although the pricing has been announced at EUR 99, Huawei is yet to reveal a list of compatible phones. Since the device is based on Bluetooth LE, it should be the usual suspects – the Apple iPhone 4S and above, Samsung Galaxy S3 and beyond, and high-end HTC, Sony and LG phones. The list will presumably also include some of the tranche of Huawei phones on show at MWC.
The Shenzhen-based firm is also keeping the actual launch date up its sleeve – but did share that the device affords up to 7 hours talktime, and a standby of up to two weeks.
With valuable real estate space on the wrist now the battleground among wearable tech vendors, moving a device to the ear is a clever move, especially as it is equally able to track movement. We understand that the headset needs actually be in your ear to participate in phone calls, so no shouting into your wrist for TalkBand B1 buyers.
It’s an innovative move coupled with very aggressive pricing, as top end Bluetooth headsets alone can cost more. The only negative comment is that the first generation device on-wrist is a bit too bulky.