The idea of HTC launching a wearable has been kicking about for some time now. Whether these rumours are wishful thinking or whether they have any truth behind them remains to be seen though.
That might all be about to change however as the rumours and speculation surrounding a HTC wearable have started up again following a year of silence.
The device is going under a couple of codenames including the HTC Petra smartwatch, the HTC One Wear smartwatch and there was also talk of a device called the HTC Halfbeak. Here's everything we know so far about the possible HTC smartwatch.
HTC Petra / One Wear smartwatch: Release date
The HTC Petra smartwatch has been the subject of rumours for well over a year. It was thought back in February 2015 that the Petra would be announced at MWC in Barcelona as "the official companion to the HTC One M9". Several reports claimed the device would go on sale during the first quarter of 2015 but that was clearly not the case.
Things fell silent for a few months after nothing but the smartphone was revealed at MWC 2015, but as we said, they have started to pick up again. The HTC Halfbeak was rumoured to be coming on 29 September but again, nothing appeared, even though the Halfbeak sounded more smartwatch than fitness tracker like the Petra.
Serial leakster Evan Blass has since claimed we would see a HTC wearable in mid-April 2016, which would have tied in with the launch of the HTC 10. Blass has more recently said its release has been pushed back till June though after the new flagship was revealed without a wrist companion.
Whether a HTC smartwatch will appear at all is very questionable, but if it does, June is currently the only idea we have of when as all the other dates have long gone.
HTC Petra / One Wear smartwatch: Design
HTC is renowned for offering well-designed devices. Its flagship smartphones have solid, all metal builds with beautiful features, including curved rears and lovely chamfering. If the company has decided to actually produce a smartwatch, the same solid design will be expected by fans. There are enough plastic smartwatches around that no one wants to wear so hopefully HTC will offer something more desirable.
Previous leaks suggested the HTC smartwatch would place a focus on fitness and with the company's recent collaboration with Under Armour at CES, this wouldn't come as too much of a shock. Although it could be that this fitness focus rumour was referring to the UA partnership rather than a separate smartwatch.
A spokesperson for HTC told VentureBeat a while back that its new wearable would be worn on the wrist and that it would be "very different from anything currently on the market".
Drew Bamford, head of HTC Creative Labs, further admitted in late 2014 that there's not a strong reason to wear a general-purpose wearable every day, and that when HTC does bring its product to market, it wants to "make sure the product has a strong point of view and there is a really compelling reason to strap it on your wrist."
This was almost two years ago so if the company has been developing its wearable for that long, we'd hope it's taken into consideration where others have failed to deliver.
Since things died down last year, there have been little details regarding what the design of the HTC smartwatch might look like. Last year, it was thought it would arrive with a 1.8-inch display, which would put it at a similar shape to the Samsung Gear Fit. It was also said it would weigh 23g, be IP57-rated for dust and waterproofing and come in teal and lime or black and blue-grey colours with three size options.
We'd take all of this with a pinch of salt now though as these rumours are over a year old so even if they were true, chances are things have now changed. As we said, they could also very easily have been referring to the tracker that comes with the UA Healthbox that launched in partnership with HTC at the beginning of this year rather than the separate smartwatch that is now rumoured. At the end of last year, the Halfbeak rumours appeared. These referred to a round smartwatch but there were little other details revealed.
HTC Petra / One Wear smartwatch: Hardware
Just like its design, the hardware rumours related to the HTC smartwatch are probably now significantly dated and again, possibly of no relevance at all. The 1.8-inch display was said to be PMOLED and offer a resolution of 160 x 32. Most of the round-faced smartwatches available have 320 x 320 displays at the very least. The Halfbeak was rumoured to offer a 360 x 360 round display though so this is at least on the right track.
The Petra display was said to be flexible and it was thought it would feature an ST Micro STM32L151 chipset, Bluetooth and GPS support. The leak, which at the time came from @upleaks, also claimed there would be a three-day battery life and USB or POGO pin charging.
These specs are now pretty outdated and given HTC's longstanding partnership with Qualcomm, we would expect the HTC smartwatch to feature Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Wear chip over anything else.
If, as we suspect, the leaked Petra specs were actually referring to the tracker that came as part of the UA Healthbox rather than a separate HTC smartwatch, there are very few details surrounding the new wearable. The Halfbeak rumours seem more plausible but even they are extremely thin on the ground.
We'd expect any smartwatch HTC do launch to have at least the same specs as current smartwatches though, if not better given it would be newer. A three-day battery life would be a pleasure, but realistically, this is unlikely if HTC goes down the touchscreen display route like Samsung and LG, rather than the analogue route like Fossil.
HTC Petra / One Wear smartwatch: Software
Previous leaks suggested the Petra might not run on Android Wear and instead use its own proprietary operating system that was said to be called RTOS. We would say this is definitely worth taking with a big pinch of salt though as HTC doesn't tend to invent anything new and this would be a serious uphill battle.
The HTC 10 offers a very refined software experience in comparison to previous HTC devices, moving closer to vanilla Android than many of its competitors. The company is also rumoured to be making the next Nexus devices so HTC and Google certainly seem to have a pretty decent relationship.
As there is little else out there when it comes to smartwatches and operating systems except for Samsung's Tizen and the platforms like Martian, we would expect HTC to take on Android Wear if it does launch a smartwatch.
HTC Petra / One Wear smartwatch: Conclusion
If we're honest, we are still very much on the fence as to whether we believe HTC will announce a smartwatch at all.
Many of the previous leaks are all old news now and if the company launched a device with those specs reported for Petra, many would probably be bitterly disappointed. The Halfbeak perhaps less so but we have only heard of the screen resolution which isn't much to go on.
If HTC does do a smartwatch, we would expect a good, solid design, decent specs that probably include Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear, and Android Wear as the platform. As we said though, we aren't convinced but we will be updating this feature as we hear more.