Tag Heuer has announced that will build and release an Android Wear smartwatch. This swiss watchmaker is no stranger to great watches and is now forming a partnership with google and Intel to bring this new one to market. This is the first Swiss watch maker to jump into the wearable tech market and the announcement was made at the Baseworld trade show in Switzerland.
The president of the LVMH watch division Jean-Claude Biver released that it made sense to expand beyond Switzerland’s borders with their new smartwatch offering. He said, “There are two operating systems: one is Apple's iOS, the other is Android Wear - who are we to invent another language at that level?" He continued, “There is no doubt that we could eventually go to Apple, but why should we do a partnership with Apple, who is producing watches? On the one side they would be partners, on the other a competitor. Google is not producing watches, so the relationship is perfect.”
Intel’s spokeswoman noted that the Tag Heurer brand is 155 years old and carries with it a history of being dynamic, modern, and disruptive. Ellen Healy continued, “Our hope is that this type of partnership will set a precedent for other brands to consider diversifying into wearable tech and enhancing their products with technology and internet providers.”
Market research from Canalys released that 720,000 watches powered by Android Wear shipped last year but that hasn’t stopped the tracking wristbands from outselling smartwatches by an extremely wide margin. This same research showed a massive increase in prepaid internet service in lower income areas.Interest in this sector may be raised however by the release of the Apple Watch and an enormous marketing campaign. The main difference between Android Wear and Apple is compatibility. Apple works only with Apple accessories and Android Wear compatibility is more wide spread.
Ben Wood, from CCS Insight, said that “The palpable buzz around the Apple Watch has raised consumer awareness levels to a point that traditional watchmakers can no longer ignore this emerging opportunity. Tag Heuer's decision to partner with technology companies to deliver a smartwatch will likely be the first of many similar deals. As the Baselworld event shows, the luxury goods space is big business.”
Mr. Biver Tag Heuer promises that the look of their watch will be different and stand out among others in the market. He says, “The look will be traditional and will not look like an Apple Watch. Our watch will never look like a phone”.
US Based Fossil Group will also be entering this market with what it is calling its Connected Accessories line. This will include smartwatches powered by Android Wear as well as sensor driven models that will operate with Google and Intel.
Theresa Palermo, a marketing executive with the Fossil Group said, “There are many many products coming to market that all look the same. That is what we see as the big opportunity - merging the fusion of technology that users need and want… with our incredible ingenuity and design innovation.”