Tag Heuer revealed a new partnership at Baselworld 2015 that will facilitate its first entry into the luxury smartwatch arena later this year.
CEO of Tag Heuer, Jean-Claude Biver brought Google’s David Singleton, Director of Engineering for Android Wear and Intel’s Michael Bell, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of its New Devices Group onto the stage to formally announce a new partnership between the three companies.
Whilst information on the Swiss smartwatch in question was slim on the ground, multiple sources and rumours ahead of the announcement have given us a good idea of what to expect from this luxury wearable. The ‘engine’ as Biven called it or brains of the operation will be provided by Intel, whilst Google’s Android Wear platform will run on top. Everything else, from the body, to the crown will come from Tag Heuer’s side of the fence.
On the feature side of things Tag Heuer’s device will supposedly offer up many of the same skills as Apple’s Watch, including altitude, distance walked and your GPS location, but the draw of the device is likely to be Tag’s design pedigree which even Apple, with its carefully cultivated exclusivity, won’t be able to rival.
In an interview with Reuters, Biver said of the smart timepiece: “People will have the impression that they are wearing a normal watch,” before adding what seemed like a sly dig in Cupertino’s direction. “Apple will get young people used to wearing a watch and later maybe they will want to buy themselves a real watch.”
It’s worth noting that despite the reputation Tag has amassed over its 150+ years in the watchmaking industry, it’s currently petitioning to be able to give its first smartwatch the Swiss-made seal of approval, a title out of the device’s reach as the movement, or in this case, the hardware isn’t manufactured or produced in Switzerland.
Analysts have so far been coy on whether Apple’s Watch will be a success or a failure, but increased competition from luxury brands in the smartwatch space, such as Tag and Tissot, coupled with opposition from the rafts of Android Wear offerings and Pebble’s new Time Steel, could well see Apple’s premier effort fall by the wayside. And once there, it might well be crushed beneath the weight of its reportedly short battery life and high price point.
Quite how Tag’s first effort will fare is anyone’s guess, but the company’s already fertile customer base is likely to pay dividends, and if the reputation of the current Carrera is anything to go by, the smart version could be a doozy – albeit an expensive one.
Biver promised that more technical information on the company’s first Android Wear device will become available towards the end of the year. Stay tuned to find out what Tag Heuer meets Android Wear actually looks like.