Chinese mobile voice search company Mobvoi has rolled out a smartwatch enabled by its own Android ROM, Ticwear. The ‘Ticwatch’ is installed with the company’s customized Android Wear system, which launched at the end of last year.

The Ticwear Android ROM has gained popularity in China as an alternative to Google services that are largely blocked in China. Currently, the Ticwear ROM can be integrated into the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R. The Ticwatch is the third offering, and is the first piece of wearable hardware that the company has produced itself. In addition to Ticwear, Mobvoi is also the startup behind WeChat-based Mandarin voice search service Chumenwenwen.

The new product is available in two models retailed at RMB999 (about US$160) and RMB1199 (about US$190) respectively, and pre-orders for the gadgets are being taken on its distribution partner JD.com from June 18.

Co-designed with Frog Design, the new Ticwatch features a 1.5-inch (3.20 x 3.20cm) Gorilla circular display, but managed to avoid the black stripe at the bottom of Moto 360’s screen. Enabled by 1.2 dual-core MT2601CPU, the smartwatch sports Bluetooth, WiFi , 512MB RAM, 4G ROM, as well as a heart rate monitor and voice control. The company disclosed that the Ticwatch is powered by a 300mAh battery without specifying battery life.

Ticwear is one of the earliest smartwatch operating systems optimized for Chinese language and Chinese user behavior. The company has claimed that its free-to-download system has had more than 30,000 users since its launch. A dozen customized versions of Chinese mobile apps or web services are now on Ticwear including WeChat, Sogou Maps, Dianping, Didi Dache, Qunar, AutoNavi, Didi Dache, Weibo and Toutiao.

The company also partnered with smart home solution provider BroadLink and My Spin to integrate smart home and internet-of-car functionalities into the smartwatch.

Benefiting from customized Android ROMs for smartphones, Chinese companies want to duplicate the same success by building customized operating systems for Android smartwatches as smart wearables are on the rise. Chinese search engine Baidu launched its smartwatch OS DuWear in April this year, while Tencent is soon wheeling out the TOS.

Image credit: Mobvoi

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.

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2 Comments

  1. The design is on point however I’m disappointed that it is not available in English. The watch would do great in the international market especially in that price bracket.

    1. I was given one as a new year gift but gave it to my (Chinese reading) wife for this reason. I’m not sold on the idea of smart watches anyway. Bluetooth and location suck battery life. It’s no better than a phone for talking. That just leaves the personal organiser functions which again are no better than the phone. So…what’s the point? My wife likes hers though.

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