Mobvoi, the Beijing based startup that's powering voice, search and apps on Android Wear in China, is gearing up to launch an international edition of its own Ticwatch smartwatch.
Due to launch and ship this summer, the new Ticwatch follows the company's first $160 device, which was designed in collaboration with frog design and crowdfunded on JD.com last year.
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"Since launching in September 2015, we've sold 100,000 units which makes us the bestselling Android base smartwatch in China," Sixuan Gong, a project manager in corporate development at Mobvoi, told us. By our estimates, that puts the Ticwatch behind only the Apple Watch and the Gear S2 which reportedly sold 180,000 in one day.
Mobvoi's selling point for its own smartwatch is that it runs a proprietary OS with voice recognition, language and services targeted at Chinese users. These include its voice search service Chumenwenwen, messaging app WeChat and Dianping, a Yelp-style app.
The first Ticwatch, which we'll be trying out for ourselves soon, also has a capacitive "tickle strip" down one side. This allows the wearer to scroll through items without blocking the screen, a neat frog innovation which has its most similar counterpart in the Gear S2's rotating bezel.
We don't know how the second, international Ticwatch will differ from the first device yet. But we're hoping it's just as affordable as the first device. What's not clear is how much voice will play a part in the international wearable.
As per its Android Wear partnership, Mobvoi knows that Ticwatch users use its voice controls more than owners of the Moto 360 and Huawei Watch in China, in part because it's one swipe away on the Ticwatch.
The first Ticwatch's strength was that it was a smartwatch built for China. We can't wait to find out whether Mobvoi can translate its success there to the rest of the world with its alternative wearable. Stay tuned for more details when we have them.
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