Tech for your connected self

Huawei Watch 3 investigation: What we know and what we want to see

Huawei's got a big new smartwatch coming, but what's it about?

Huawei may have already launched the Huawei Watch 2 2018, but that's not the smartwatch we're looking forward to from the company. That would be the Huawei Watch 3, which we still expect to drop hopefully before the end of 2018.

While the upgraded Huawei Watch 2 added features like eSim into the mix, it leaves the door open for something more radical to be included in the company's proper new flagship smartwatch.

Read this: Huawei still doesn't seem to get smartwatches

What could the big new smartwatch have in store for us? And, more importantly, when could it be coming if Huawei just refreshed its bestselling Huawei Watch 2? Here's what we think we know about the next generation Wear smartwatch.

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Three Wear watches the price of one?

Huawei Watch 3: What we want to see

In July, trademarks listed with the World Intellectual Property Organization indicated that we might not just see one Huawei Watch 3 - we might see three. Each trademark sported a different name: Anchor, Voyage and Unlimited.

Importantly, the filings don't exactly indicate what device this is. However, seeing as we already know that the Huawei Watch 3 is coming, and is likely the next big device from Huawei, it seems like a safe bet.

We also don't know whether Anchor, Voyage and Unlimited are official names for smartwatches or whether they're temporary monikers meant to get the devices through regulatory processes without raising suspicions.

It's likely the Unlimited device is the highest end of the three, which would likely mean it carries features like GPS and 4G LTE. If these are just temporary monikers, however, it's likely Huawei returns to the Classic and Sport naming scheme its used in the past.

However, that doesn't explain the third potential model. It's also possible that these three watches are just different sizes. For instance, there are three models of the upcoming Galaxy Watch. There's a 42mm model, a 46mm model and a special edition rose gold 42mm edition. That could be the same instance here, potentially.

Built-in wireless headphones?

Huawei Watch 3 investigation: What we know and what we want to see

What could Huawei do to separate its new smartwatch from the rest of the pack? What about building a watch or a band that could carry your wireless Bluetooth headphones for you?

That's something Huawei has been mulling, as the company has not one but two separate patents for a smartwatch that makes it easier to carry around those pesky Bluetooth headphones.

The first method would see you slip your headphones into a little compartment where your band meets your watch. There's also a spring-loaded mechanism to keep them locked in place, so that they don't fly out of your smartwatch.

The second method would see a little loop at the bottom of your strap, big enough for both headphones to slip right into. The idea of a smartwatch being able to hold onto your wireless headphones isn't too bad, actually.

Smartwatches are increasingly aiming to be standalone devices, and Huawei has certainly tried to pack as much technology as possible into its devices before so that they could be standalone devices. When you're out and about and need somewhere to put them, your watch strap is as good a place as any.

While it could be unlikely that this feature could make it into the Huawei Watch 3, just because of the patent only now being discovered - and patents being patents - it wouldn't be a surprise to see this down the road. Huawei has certainly done stranger things with its devices.

Features and eSim

Huawei Watch 3 investigation: What we know and what we want to see

When Huawei launched the Watch 2 Pro back in October in 2017 and then the refreshed Huawei Watch 2 2018 this year both devices included eSim technology. This essentially meant you could get rid of a physical SIM card as it's built right into the device. It takes up no space and still lets you use LTE to make calls or go on the internet.

The great thing about an eSim is that it allows you to choose your carrier on the fly. For example, the LTE edition of the iPad comes with an eSim built in. You can head to the settings menu and simply choose your carrier.

As the past two smartwatches that Huawei has released have featured eSim, it seems likely that the new watch will get the same treatment. This would be a nice upgrade over the Huawei Watch 2's nanoSIM technology. It would also allow the Huawei Watch 3 to save some space and slim down, which would be nice for a smartwatch that already packs several features into it.

As for the rest of what the Huawei Watch 3 could have, you just have to look at the 2018 edition of the Watch 2 to get an idea of what you can expect. There's GPS, NFC payments, gyroscope, compass, barometer, heart rate, a geomagnetic sensor and a capacitance sensor, which could track humidity or sweating.

What it needs: Design and customizability

Huawei Watch 3 investigation: What we know and what we want to see

Huawei has shown the ability to swing for the fences and really go for it with its other products, like its P20 Pro smartphone, and it has kind of done that with the Huawei Watch, cramming as many features as possible into its device.

However, the Chinese company also needs to give us more when it comes to design. We quite miss the more luxurious look of the original Huawei Watch, which was dulled down a bit for the sequel.

If Huawei can swing hard for a more classy look, or at least offer several different styles to suit different tastes, then it could well have a smash hit on its hands.

Apple and Fitbit have both found additional success with the ability to make it as easy as possible for people to purchase a whole bunch of unique band options for their smartwatch. Huawei would be wise to adopt a similar strategy. It has the tech, now it just needs the panache.

When's it coming?

Huawei Watch 3 investigation: What we know and what we want to see

Huawei is in no rush to release the Huawei Watch 3. It didn't launch any wearables at Mobile World Congress this year, and it's been over 18 months since the original Huawei Watch 2 launched.

Instead, it launched a "Pro" edition of the Watch 2 last October and then a 2018 edition a couple months ago. So what's the deal, does Huawei not care about smartwatches?

Well, it turns out that the Watch 2 is selling so well that the company is taking a more carefree attitude toward the release of the Watch 3. "It will come later - there's no hurry because Huawei Watch 2 sells well," said Huawei CEO Richard Yu. "We're not in a hurry, so we're launching the new watch later."

When "later" is is the big question. There's a chance it could launch at IFA 2018, which is just around the corner. We do know that Qualcomm is also planning to launch the next generation of its smartwatch chips for Wear on 10 September. That could prompt Huawei to launch its new watch with the new internals. That would though mean going up against the Galaxy Watch and the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4.


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