BARCENA—After more than a year since sending up a signal flair, HTC finally debuted its first wearable device, though it’s not exactly what we were expecting. l of its smartphone competitors are diving into Android ar watches, but HTC has partnered with Under Amour to introduce the Grip, a rubbery, lime-green activity tracker targeted at fitness enthusiasts.
I went hs on with the HTC Grip at Mobile rld Congress, what I saw didn’t immediately scream innovation.
It’s super sporty-looking
Aesthetically, the Grip will speak mostly to sporty types, that’s about it. I can see hardcore runners hikers wearing this during workouts, but unlike the Fitbit Charge, for example, it’s not the least bit subtle looking, nor can you swap in a different style b to match an outfit.
The Grip is chock full of features, but all of them will sound familiar to anyone who’s been following the wearables space. The Grip has a 1.8-inch OD display that’s easy to see in bright sunlight. It tracks steps, monitors sleep, counts calories, has built-in G functionality that can map out your morning run. It’s also got controls for your music a weather ticker, though these particular features require phone-syncing to work.
l in all, it looks to be a very targeted play at the runners’ market. That’s great, but with step counting, G onboard music playback already folded into Android ar watches (we’re looking at you, Sony Smarttch 3), the Grip might have a tough time proving its relevance.
The Grip that I went hs-on with is still in development, but I tried it on anyway. It’s certainly “grippy,” I wonder what it’s going to be like when I’m actually sweating. ll it stick to my skin? ll it be uncomfortable to wear over a period of time? Only real-world use will provide answers.
At least HTC will offer small, medium, large sizes, though you’ll want to go a size up if you like it loose. It also employs a push-button clasp, which caught my skin a few times as I was putting it on.
It’s easy to use
The Grip is fairly intuitive to use. It has a home button you can tap to turn the screen on off. You can then flip through four main menus, including one to start a workout one to view various stats throughout the day. The iconography is self-explanatory.
I’m still not entirely sold on the design of the b just yet, even if HTC is going after a niche subset of the already nichey wearables market. Since it’s partnered up with Under Armour, it’ll be mostly up to the fitness br to drive sales of the device. But at least the app it uses is multi-platform, so it will work with both Android iOS devices.
A different kind of product
So who will buy the Grip? ed, I only spent a brief time with the wristb, but I think it will only appeal to folks who want G, step-tracking, music control for daily runs, don’t care about all the other features loaded into smartwatches—or even the super-accurate heart-rate monitoring offered by the Basis ak.
Consumers still know HTC as a company that makes Android phones tablets, even if it is piggybacking on extremely popular brs like Under Armour, its wearable devices will have to perform remarkably well to get noticed. The person who buys a wearable just for running isn’t necessarily an HTC fanboy, or general gadget enthusiast.
won’t be able to see how HTC fares in this new realm for a while. The Grip isn’t due until later this spring, should cost $199.