The HTC Grip was announced alongside the HTC One M9 earlier in 2015, but the company has confirmed that the fitness tracker that it showed off to the world has been shelved. HTC is instead working on a new range of products for the health and fitness market.
Confirmation that the original HTC Grip will not launch as planned is not a complete surprise. The fitness tracker was supposed to launch in the spring, so it was already behind schedule.
HTC had not made any comments about the reason for the delay and this in turn lead to speculation that the company had abandoned the product.
The HTC Grip was produced in collaboration with American sportswear and accessories company Under Armour.
Despite the failure to launch the HTC Grip as planned, HTC has confirmed that not only is their relationship with Under Armour intact, it will play a central role in a range of new health and fitness products.
“Through our partnership with Under Armour, we have continued to refine our vision and approach to the health and fitness category,” a HTC statement declared. “Our goal is to offer best-in-class products for our customers and partners.
“After extensive wear testing and user feedback, we have decided to align Grip with the entire product portfolio for health and fitness launching later this year.”
Although HTC have confirmed to Engadget that the original fitness tracker they demonstrated will not go on sale, their statement leaves open a number of possibilities.
HTC have said that they plan to “align Grip” with the new range of products they are going to be launching with Under Armour. One way this could be achieved would be to release a revised edition of the HTC Grip, which better integrates with the company’s new health and fitness devices.
It is also possible that HTC might not release a fitness band at all, and instead integrate fitness tracking into one or more of its forthcoming products.
The decision to cancel the launch of the HTC Grip could prove to be a shrewd move, as the wearables market is evolving at a rapid pace.
During the course of 2015, low-cost fitness trackers have become very popular. By far the most significant example of this phenomenon is the Mi Band, which sells for only $14.99 (approximately €14.00/£10.00).
The Mi Band is made by Xiaomi, which is a major player in China. But despite its position in China, Xiaomi had been reluctant to move into the European and US markets.
Although many Mi Bands have made their way to Europe and the US by the way of grey importing, it is nonetheless highly notable that this year Xiaomi decided to launch online stores in the US, Germany, the UK and France.
Even as a more fully featured product, on its own the HTC Grip could have struggled to compete against the low-cost Mi Band. But as part of a portfolio of products from the HTC and Under Armour partnership, a fitness band may prove popular for fitness enthusiasts who want to invest in a number of products from the same, refined ecosystem.