Swatch reportedly readies smartwatch to face off against Apple Watch

The company's CEO told Bloomberg that he expects the product to ship within the coming months

Apple Watch: No wrist-based wearable has received as much attention as the forthcoming Apple Watch. TIME magazine recently proclaimed it one of the best 25 inventions of 2014 because "it wholly reimagines the computer for the wrist, using a novel interface that combines a touchscreen and physical buttons." Apple's recently released WatchKit for developers provides a rough idea of what Watch apps will be like, including a "glances" feature (for short bits of info) and "actionable notifications" that let users "take action right from their wrists." Big questions remain, though. Exactly when will the Watch be released? Apple says "early 2015;" other rumors suggest "spring." Just how much will those fancy deluxe models cost? Some reports say as much as $US1200, though low-end models should start at $US350.
Apple Watch: No wrist-based wearable has received as much attention as the forthcoming Apple Watch. TIME magazine recently proclaimed it one of the best 25 inventions of 2014 because "it wholly reimagines the computer for the wrist, using a novel interface that combines a touchscreen and physical buttons." Apple's recently released WatchKit for developers provides a rough idea of what Watch apps will be like, including a "glances" feature (for short bits of info) and "actionable notifications" that let users "take action right from their wrists." Big questions remain, though. Exactly when will the Watch be released? Apple says "early 2015;" other rumors suggest "spring." Just how much will those fancy deluxe models cost? Some reports say as much as $US1200, though low-end models should start at $US350.

The smartwatch market could become a bit more colorful in the coming months.

Swatch, a Swiss company know for creating timepieces with vibrant hues, plans to launch a smartwatch in the next three months. The Internet-connected device will work with Android and Windows software and allow users to make mobile payments, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek told Bloomberg Business on Thursday.

Hayek didn't offer additional details such as how much it will cost and how the device will interface with Android and Windows software. Swatch didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

Swatch's entry into the wearable and mobile payment market comes as Apple prepares to launch its first smartwatch (pictured) and expands its mobile wallet product. The Apple Watch, which will debut in April, will have fitness-tracking features and offer applications for text messaging, emails and getting directions. Apple entered the mobile payment space in October with Apple Pay.

Swatch's decision to develop a smartwatch indicates that Hayek has done an about-face on wearables. Two years ago he downplayed the impact smartwatches would have on the watch industry, saying they wouldn't be as revolutionary as predicted. Last year he said Swatch wouldn't develop such devices because of consumer reluctance. He had questioned how small watch screens could be used for communicating and the amount of charging smartwatches would require.

Hayek told Bloomberg that some of the products Swatch plans to launch this year will reflect the record number of patent applications it filed in 2014. Some of those patents cover batteries that use materials that can boost performance, Hayek said. The Swatch smartwatch will connect to the Internet "without having to be charged," he told Bloomberg.

Switzerland's two largest retailers will let customers make payments with Swatch's smartwatch and the company is talking to other retailers about using the payment system.

Another traditional watchmaker getting into the wearables space is TAG Heuer, which is looking to release a smartwatch this year that features GPS and health monitoring functions. High-end consumer product company Montblanc sells a smart watchband for its timepieces that tracks activities, among other features, and uses Bluetooth to connect to mobile devices running iOS and Android.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

3 ways to leverage the talents of your team to avoid disruption

​According to the World Economic Forum in its most recent The Future of Jobs report, the most important skills for the future are not technical, task-oriented skills, but higher-order skills such as creativity, social influence, active learning, and analytical thinking.

Gihan Perera

Futurist, leadership consultant

CMOs, it’s time to stop squandering customer attention

Businesses continue to highly value the attention they buy through paid media, yet at the same time, many continue to disregard and under-value opportunities to connect with customers using their owned media.

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...

Heather

It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Thanks Nadia for sharing this blog. It has really useful and amazing information about Salesforce Commerce Cloud and digital engagement w...

Holly Smith

Adidas taps data and technology smarts to build personalised digital engagement with consumers

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in