HTC plans smartwatch, source says

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HTC plans smartwatch, source says

HTC is developing a smartwatch that uses Google’s Android software and can take pictures, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The watch’s price, full functions and sales strategy still must be decided before it’s released by the second half of 2014, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The smartwatch will join a growing segment of wearable technology that already includes devices from Samsung Electronics and Sony.

Dwindling market share for HTC smartphones led to the company’s first quarterly loss and a 54 percent slump in its share price this year as it loses ground to Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker. Apple has a team of designers working on a watch-like device, two people familiar with the matter said in February, and the company has sought trademark protection for the “iWatch” name in Japan.

HTC doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation, the company said in an e-mailed response to questions.

HTC, once the biggest seller of smartphones in the United States, saw its share of the global market drop by more than half in the second quarter. The company plans redesigned versions of its flagship HTC One model and has hired actor Robert Downey Jr. in a renewed push to promote its brand.

Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC has been in talks with Amazon.com since at least June to develop handsets for sale to users of the Amazon Prime service, two people familiar with the talks said earlier this month.

Samsung’s smartwatch, the $299 Galaxy Gear, went on sale Sept. 25. It features a 1.63-inch screen and 1.9-megapixel camera, and it syncs with tablets and smartphones using Android software to make phone calls.

Researcher Strategy Analytics expects 500,000 Galaxy Gears to be shipped this year.

Sony introduced its first smartwatch more than a year ago and said it will release an updated version in Japan Friday. Bloomberg

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