HTC says its upcoming wearable is not a smartwatch

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Michael Homnick

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Forget those all rumors of an Android Wear smartwatch from HTC, at least for now.

An HTC spokesman told VentureBeat that it will have some kind of wrist-worn wearable to show off at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show, but that it’s not a smartwatch.

And although HTC has been working closely with companies who have developed apps for fitness and other activities, the device will reportedly be very different from anything that’s on the market right now. Unfortunately, that’s as specific as the company is going to get until January.

HTC’s on-again, off-again attitude about wearables has been going on since February, when Chairwoman Cher Wang said the company would launch a smartwatch by year-end. In September, Pocket-Lint reported that HTC had canceled those plans, but then CNet reported that an Android Wear-based watch was back on track for an early 2015 launch. The following month, HTC confirmed to Re/code that it had postponed its wearable plans until 2015, but didn’t get into details on the hardware or software.

“When we come to market with our product we want to make sure the product has a strong point of view and there is a really compelling reason to strap it on your wrist,” HTC Americas head Jason Mackenzie said at the time.

HTC’s attempts to move beyond phones and tablets aren’t limited to wearable tech. Last month, the company launched the RE, a $150 digital camera that sort of looks like an inhaler.

Why this matters: HTC’s rivals have been rushing to fill the wearable void this year, resulting in a glut of new smartwatches this holiday season. Though we’d certainly like to see HTC translate its smartphone design chops into an attractive watch, staying out of this year’s fight could be a wise decision. We’ll see if HTC has truly come up with something different—or is just arguing semantics with its non-watch—come early January.

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