Apple's smartwatch will have competition from China's Xiaomi, if a report from a Chinese-language tech site proves true.
While the truth behind the smartwatch remains to be established, Xiaomi, sometimes called the Apple of China, has been confirmed to be working on another smart product that could tie into the alleged smartwatch aspiration.
The report came from 36Krypton and was picked up by GSMArena. The details are sparse, but the smartwatch is expected to fall in line with other Xiaomi products by offering high-quality design at affordable prices.
Xiaomi's smartwatch will have a brushed metal design and a round face, according to reports. Like the Apple Watch and many other smartwatches, the Xiaomi smartwatch will monitor blood pressure via pulse wave velocity recognition.
Though details about Xiaomi's smartwatch aspirations are unconfirmed, the mobile device manufacturer has revealed that it is teaming up with China's Ling Company to produce smart soles.
The product of the partnership will be smart chips, which can be placed into shoes to generate and share metrics with a Xiaomi app. Users will be able to record their progress, track achievements and analyze their running form.
The partnership between Xiaomi's Huami Technology arm and Li-Ning is the first collaboration between a sports and smart tech company in China, according to Li-Ning. Though it signed NBA all-star Dwayne Wade to an endorsement deal in 2013, Li-Ning has been attempting to restore its profile for years now.
"We have chosen to collaborate with the Mi band because of Huami Technology's strength in 'smart' wearable products," Li-Ning stated. "We hope to use this opportunity to provide professional 'smart' running shoes to running enthusiasts in China at an affordable price."
While the running sensors will report directly to a Xiaomi app, the availability of a compatible smartwatch could enable runners to leave their phones at home. Smartwatches are more than capable of tracking a runner's progress, though the smart soles could more accurately count steps and provide the added benefit of analyzing the user's form.
If Xiaomi is indeed working on a smartwatch, it could be a serious threat to the upcoming Apple Watch. Apple has had the benefit of showing up fashionably late to the part, prompting many consumers to hold out on a smartwatch purchase until they find out what Apple has to offer.
Xiaomi is known for producing high-end products and releasing them at affordable prices. A cheaper offering from Xiaomi, combined with second- and third-generation offers from other companies, could see the Apple Watch boxed in, shortly after it hits the market.