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Hmm didn't realize the Apple Watch came with microSD expandable memory.  (Source: llodo.com)
Chinese consumers unable to wait - or afford the Apple Watch - can now order a cheaper knockoff

The Apple Watch won’t be available until April, but that hasn’t stopped a wave of fake knockoffs to hit the market in China.  

Authentic Apple Watch smartwatches will retail in price from about $350 up to $17,000, but a fake knockoff can be purchased for as little as $30. 

The authentic Apple Watch [Image Source: NBC News]

Chinese consumers can purchase the "AW08" smartwatch from Alibaba’s Taobao website with next-day delivery anywhere in China.  The watch currently costs $59, can connect to Google Android devices, and promises up to 120 hours of total battery life.

Other knockoff watches include the D-Watch, Airwatch A8, and Ai Watch – all affordable smartwatches designed to look just like the Apple Watch.

Some products are openly being promoted as the Apple Watch, while others are available with an "Apple Watch lookalike" marketing tag.  Many of the devices will be available for Apple iOS and Google Android, catering to a larger demographic of consumers.

A smartwatch designed to look like the Apple Watch popped up online [Image Source: Taobao

Running Android, the graphical user interface (GUI) is designed to mimic the Apple interface, including icons that closely mimic the ones included by Apple.

The counterfeiters are only going to get better at copying the Apple Watch, with those responsible typically running sophisticated criminal operations.  Here is what Laurent Le Pan, founder and CEO of the Omate smartwatch maker, said (via CNN Money):

These guys are specialists.  The speed at which they can bring copies on the market is amazing.  The hardware is not the big challenge – the hard part is on the software and the application side.  In the end, you sometimes need to be an expert to tell the difference between real and fake.

It’s not uncommon to see fake items pop up in China and Eastern Europe, and with the high interest of the Apple Watch, this was to be expected.  It will be curious to see how long the fake listings are available, as Apple has been known to target sites selling fake versions of its products.

Fake Apple Watch knockoffs are expected to be popular in China [Image Source: Business Insider]

The Chinese market is an extremely important target for western manufacturers selling smartphones, wearables, and other consumer electronics.  It's a fierce battle to compete against Chinese companies such as Lenovo and Xiaomi, with counterfeit products hitting the market a constant headache.

Swatch, the largest watchmaker in the world, plans to undercut Apple and other legitimate rivals by providing watches with near field communication (NFC) chips later this year.  The company plans to offer individual features instead of a large functionality of functionality that would compete with the Apple Watch.

Any other manufacturers interested in releasing smartwatches, whether in China or elsewhere, will need to focus on Android-based connectivity – and a much lower price point, hoping to undercut Apple’s products aimed at affluent consumers.

Apple will continue its efforts to battle against counterfeit products, while these companies develop their skills to create even better knockoffs.

Source: Associated Press





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