Asustek talks of ‘trade-offs’ in smartwatch line


TAIPEI–When Asustek (華碩) Computer Inc.’s first smartwatch debuts to the world, it will be an innovative product with the right balance between launch timing, technical feasibility, price and form factor, company Chairman Jonney Shih (施崇棠) vowed Thursday.

Answering reporters’ question at the Taiwan Economic Summit in Taipei, Shih said Asustek has learned a lot about such “trade offs” between perceptual and rational factors during the design process.

Without giving any timetable for the product’s launch, Shih told the event co-hosted by the Financial Times and Standard Chartered that his company has been examining technical feasibility and financial viability along with when to launch the wearable device and how much it should cost.

“With so many requirements to think over, we need to find out the right trade-off in order to make what we call a ‘hero product,’” he said.

“Our smartwatch will have many key features, including notifications and capabilities of understanding users to help them solve many real-time problems,” Shih said. “Eventually, however, we still expect consumers to replace their own watches (with our smartwatch), and that’s why the device’s form factor matters.”

Shih told a media briefing in March that Asustek was developing a wearable device that can be controlled using voice commands or customizable hand movements.

The wearable device will be used to complement smartphones rather than work as a standalone device because smartphones have the mature applications that users want, Shih said at that time.

The Taiwanese PC vendor, however, began considering new options for the user interface on the wearable device, some of which are rarely seen on touch-enabled smartphones because watches have a smaller screen size, the chairman said, without giving too much detail.