That didn't take long. Hot on the heels of the #Apple Watch, which is set to debut next month, #Google has announced plans for its own pricey smartwatch. The search giant is partnering with luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer and chipmaker Intel for a high profile smartwatch, using an Android version specifically created for wearable devices.
"Swiss watchmaking and Silicon Valley is a marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility," said Jean-Claude Biver, president of the watch division at LVMH Group, during the joint press conference at watch industry fair Baselworld. He added this is a win-win partnership with tremendous potential for the three companies.
The collaboration enters an already crowded market, with dozens of brands trying to make a name for themselves. Last year, 10 million smartwatches were shipped worldwide; this year, Gartner expects to see the number rise to 19 million, courtesy of Apple's entry in the market.
This is a smart move for Google and its efforts to push Android Wear, the operating system version for wearables. It's also good for Intel, which dominates 80% of the traditional chip market but is still behind when it comes to the fast growing mobile space. For TAG Heuer, the 155-year-old watchmaker, it is a statement of forward thinking. It's also an interesting collaboration between Silicon Valley, in California, and Watch Valley, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Apple didn't partner with any renowned watchmaker for the Apple Watch; it was designed in-house.
"We're thrilled to be working with TAG Heuer and Intel to bring a unique blend of emotion and innovation to the luxury market," said David Singleton, director of engineering for Android Wear, revealing the ultimate goal: to make a "better, beautiful, smarter watch." TAG Heuer's general manager Guy Sémon believes this is "the launch of a technological revolution in our industry."
It might be, but it will have to make a compelling case to consumers, who haven't been that keen on buying yet another gadget to walk around with. Market analysts think Apple will change that because of two factors: the power of the brand and the focus on the ecosystem, including a lot of health-focused apps. The Apple Watch will be launched in 9 territories on April 24th, with prices ranging from $349 for the Sport edition to $17,000 for the high end gold edition.