Android-based Huawei smartwatch delayed in China due to ban on Google services

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 June, 2015, 1:23pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 September, 2015, 1:10pm

The launch of the first smartwatch by Chinese telecommunications-equipment maker Huawei could be delayed in China until 2016 due to problems with its Android operating system, according to media reports.

This is due to restrictions in China on Google services. Developed by Google, Android is highly integrated with the company's platform.

But it could still be released in the third quarter of this year in Europe and the US, Yang Yong, Huawei’s manager for wearables, told the Wall Street Journal.

Since 2010, Google services have been limited or shut down completely on the Chinese mainland after the US tech giant got into a dispute with the Chinese government over its refusal to censor its search results. Gmail was completely blocked last December.

In spite of the hurdles Huawei now faces in China, Yang said it will continue utilising Android Wear as the operating system for its smartwatches.

The device was unveiled with great fanfare at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in March, with much attention paid to its classic wristwatch style and high-end specifications. 

However, Yang also said that the version due to go on sale this year will be less bulky, with a rounder case.

Companies such as Motorola, Apple and Samsung have made forays into the smartwatch industry. 

READ MORE: Hot new developments from the Mobile World Congress could see 2015 become 'the year of the wireless charger'

In March, Pebble Technology Corporation’s latest smartwatch Pebble Time smashed records and became the most funded Kickstarter project in history, raising over US$20 million in its month-long crowdfunding campaign.

In April, Hong Kong-based smartwatch start-up Kairos signed a distribution deal under Timex Group, in the hope of increasing sales of its hybrid mechanical smartwatch line.

Smartwatch sales are predicted to rocket in Hong Kong. 

Last year, market research firm Counterpoint Technology estimated their sales would hit 1.4 million units in the city in 2015, up more than eight times from 2013.