Rumors of HTC's ascent into smartwatch territory stretch back to 2015, when a device codenamed "Halfbeak" made the rounds on the web.
Speculation and initial murmurs, however, slowly came to a hum. Very little, if any details of the alleged smartwatch has actually been passed word-of-mouth as a result.
HTC Halfbeak Rumors
That's until now, because apparently, a functional HTC Halfbeak unit was spotted again at Weibo, as part of a series of photos. In 2015, HTC had been laconic about Halfbeak, causing speculation over the device not to dance around the popular spectrum at the time. The device, then, was thought to be in two scenarios — one which sees it at a very nascent part of development, hence, the lack of information; or one which sees it as having been astutely shrouded in secrecy by its creators.
Most sources said, however, that Halfbeak sported a flat tire display with a 360 x 360 resolution, and that's sort of it. Specs-wise, nothing of importance has been talked about since.
Will HTC Halfbeak Be Actually Released?
There's very little to suggest Halfbeak will ever see the light of day, but fairly recent hints point to a possibility of it entering the smartwatch market. Back in October alleged photos of the smartwatch in question were leaked, and those models featured an Under Armour's logo. Of course, many thought it was actually a signal of imminent release, with the device focusing on fitness features.
It appears that the HTC and Under Armour collaboration has endured, as one of the photos from the laked Weibo photo set features the sports brand's logo on the back of the device. The collaboration makes sense — Under Armour and HTC previously dove in cahoots to introduce the UA Healthbox platform in 2016.
As for the flat design, however, the unit has since been re-outfitted with a more stylish and modern circular panel.
Even with no official word from HTC itself, the photos does seem to suggest that there's reason to hope that the smartwatch will be released eventually, as the Weibo features a more recent development prototype, instead of something that looks as if it had been shelved for an inordinate period of time. Though if the opposite turns out to be true, it's valid to guess, at the very least, that HTC is still maybe heavily tinkering Halfbeak.
A Smartwatch Market Slowdown
True or not, Halfbeak doesn't really have a sternly appreciative market waiting for it, if HTC does officially birth it, that is. Smartwatch sales tanked by more than half in Q3 2016, causing a bleak picture of the industry's whereabouts at that period, and by extension, where it'll be down the line.
If HTC's cold feet over releasing Halfbeak stems from dismal smartwatch figures, who's to say that the company isn't being reasonable? Whether the market balloons overtime remains to be seen, but Pebble's shutdown and Motorola's smartwatch hiatus after the second-generation Moto 360 come as dents in the general confidence that the industry will somehow gain firm foothold moving forward. Anyhow, Google is allegedly planning to release two smartwatch flagships to herald Android Wear 2.0, so if true, that could contribute somewhat to preventing the whole industry's descent into a briar patch.
When HTC decides to unveil Halfbeak, expect due coverage. Meanwhile, sound off in the comments below about what you think the smartwatch industry needs to become as significant as the smartphone industry, or nearly.