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ZTE's first smartwatch takes more than a page from Pebble's book

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Gallery Photo: ZTE BlueWatch smartwatch photos
Gallery Photo: ZTE BlueWatch smartwatch photos

Along with the odd and unique Projector Hotspot, ZTE is showing off its first venture into wearable technology at CES this year. The BlueWatch is the company's first smartwatch effort, but it will look awfully familiar to anyone that's seen a Pebble before. In fact, it’s so similar looking, if the branding were to be removed from the front of it, you’d be hard pressed to tell it apart from a Pebble.

The BlueWatch has three buttons on the left and one on its right — just like the Pebble — and uses a magnetically attached USB cable to charge its battery, again, just like the Pebble. Its black and white e-paper display is almost identical to the Pebble’s, though the ZTE’s weak backlighting is not nearly as uniform or bright.

The similarities to Pebble extend down to the BlueWatch’s interface. ZTE says the watch can receive notifications, count your steps, find your phone, and other typical smartwatch functions. On the device we saw, there were three watch faces, all of which looked very similar to the default faces on the Pebble (and have very similar names). The BlueWatch connects to a smartphone over Bluetooth and uses an app to control its features.

For its part, ZTE says that this watch is a first effort and will be continually improved upon. But while the company refers to it as a "beta" product, it does intend to sell it at some point in the future. Exactly when that is and how much the BlueWatch will cost remains to be seen, but ZTE says that it will be on the market some time this year.