Is the Huawei Watch 3 still going to happen? After the Watch 2 launched in 2017 and was upgraded in 2018 by adding eSIM support, the Chinese tech company has slightly changed tact on the smartwatch front.
In 2018 we saw the introduction of the Watch GT, another sport-centric watch that promised two-week battery life, but crucially offered something new in software department. Huawei put Google's Wear OS to one side and used its own Lite OS operating system to run the software show.
We were fans of the Watch GT and the Elegant and Active editions that followed it, but does that mean the Watch 3 dream is now dead? New evidence may suggest we shouldn't rule it out just yet.
Here's what we think we know about the next generation Wear smartwatch.
Three Wear watches for the price of one?
The most recent evidence that the Watch 3 could still be on the cards comes courtesy of listings that have popped up on Bluetooth Special Interest Group website. Four listings reveal that Huawei has four smartwatches in the pipeline. One is described as a kids watch and the other three are listed as being a smart watch.
The numbers associated with those listings is interesting here. That's because one of the numbers is the same one that is currently associated with the Huawei Watch 2. Now these multiple listings could also refer to multiple versions of the Watch GT, but it seems a bit of coincidence that the Watch 2 number matches the number in this listing.
Prior to that, we have seen trademarks listed with the World Intellectual Property Organization that also hinted at multiple models. Each trademark sported a different name: Anchor, Voyage and Unlimited.
We have also the Watch X, which was revealed by a filing with the European Union's Intellectual Property Office. There are much less details about this watch, other than the fact it's a smartwatch with a trendy Roman numeral added onto the name.
Could it be that Anchor, Voyage and Unlimited were temporary monikers meant to get through some regulatory processes without raising suspicions? Are Watch X and Watch GT the real names of two of these devices?
It's unclear, but we do know that Huawei has used multiple names in the past ‚Äď like Classic and Sport ‚Äď to differentiate between its smartwatch models. There's also no indication of what a third model might be called.
Like the Galaxy Watch, it's possible the third model is just a variation of size. The Galaxy Watch has a 42mm model, a 46mm model and then a special edition rose gold 42mm model. It could be the same here.
Built-in wireless headphones?
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 the band meets the 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 before to pack as much technology as possible into its devices so that they could be standalone. 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 will make it into the Huawei Watch 3, just because of the patent only now being discovered ‚Äď and patents being patents ‚Äď it wouldn't be a surprise to see this down the road. Huawei has certainly done stranger things.
Features: eSim and battery
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 use 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 decent 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.
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.
All of these would be powered by a new battery. CEO Richard Yu said Huawei was willing to wait until it could get a smartwatch working with a week-long battery. The GT certainly delivered on that, so could a proper smartwatch from Huawei match it?
What it needs: Design and customisability
Huawei has shown the ability to swing for the fences and really go for it with its other products, like its P30 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 by making 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.
Huawei Watch 3 release date
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 a while since the original Huawei Watch 2 launched.
Instead, it launched a "Pro" edition of the Watch 2 and then a 2018 edition. So what's the deal ‚Äď does Huawei not care about proper smartwatches?
It seems the Watch 2 could still be selling well and the company is taking a more carefree attitude toward the release of the Watch 3. "It will come later ‚Äď there's no hurry because Huawei Watch 2 sells well," said Huawei CEO Richard Yu back in March 2018. "We're not in a hurry, so we're launching the new watch later."