Huawei’s Eric Xu Zhijun, one of the company’s rotating CEOs, doesn’t personally seem to be a fan of smartwatches. “I am always confused as to what smartwatches are for when we have smartphones,” he said Tuesday. It’s a fair, skeptical point people have been making since the advent of the smartwatch. Xu’s iffy feelings toward the category haven’t stopped Huawei from producing more wearables, however; the company unveiled the Huawei Watch 2 at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.
But to many consumers who actually do like smartwatches, the Huawei Watch 2 has been viewed as a disappointing follow to its predecessor. It tossed away the classy, formal look of the original in favor of a sporty design. Huawei also crammed in a number of new features including standalone GPS and NFC for Android Pay.
Xu provided some insight on Huawei’s internal deliberations that might explain the drastic shift between the two products. “When the smartwatch team in Huawei presents their ideas to me with great excitement, I keep reminding them to consider whether there are tangible needs [for these products] in the market,” he said.
So it’s possible that Xu simply wasn’t interested in a Huawei Watch 2 that looked like the original; if Huawei was going to make another one, it had to look different and do more functionally compared to the first model. Xu was only rotating CEO for six months, and the Huawei Watch 2 obviously had a longer product roadmap than that — but it’s probably a viewpoint shared by many of his fellow executives.