Mobile World Congress 2015: Rivals pre-empt Apple with own smart watches

Barcelona // Smart watches and wearable technology are set to be the talk of the town at the Mobile World Congress, with a series of device launches timed to pre-empt the release of the highly anticipated Apple Watch next week.

LG was first out of the gate with the launch of its Watch Urbane and Watch Urbane LTE devices on Sunday morning. China’s Huawei followed shortly afterwards, launching its first ever smart watch, simply titled the Huawei Watch.

Huawei also announced the launch of the Talkband N1 and B2, its second and third fitness tracker devices.

The Taiwanese manufacturer HTC followed suit just hours later, with the launch of its first fitness tracker, the HTC grip, developed in conjunction with the clothing maker Under Armour.

Huawei and HTC’s announcements come after Apple said on Thursday that it would launch the Apple Watch next Monday in California.

The Apple Watch is forecast to breathe life into the smart watches market, which, despite a number of positively received devices, has not yet translated into sales.

Fewer than one million smart watches were sold worldwide in 2014, according to the industry analysts Analysys Mason.

However Apple’s entry is forecast to drive total smart watch sales to 13.6 million worldwide by the end of the year.

“Other manufacturers – such as LG, Motorola and Samsung – will eventually benefit from the increased interest in smart watches as a credible device type, but we do not anticipate any vendor matching Apple’s market share in the short or medium term,” the analysts wrote in a research note.

Smart watches are forecast to become the largest segment of the wearable devices market by next month, with the entire sector expected to be worth $22.9 billion by 2020.

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