It's Not Just Apple - Every Watch Is About To Become Radically Smarter


It's Not Just Apple - Every Watch Is About To Become Radically Smarter

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Apple is the only company in the world that's creating an internet connected so-called smartwatch.

But Apple is by no means alone. Nor was it first.

While it will undoubtedly sell tens of millions of the devices, every watchmaker at every price bracket, plus plucky new upstarts, are creating internet connected watches for all budgets and all tastes.

The latest entrant is luxury Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, who had previously announced plans to enter the smartwatch space. The company gave some details on Friday, saying that an official release will come this fall with a price of $1,400.

The company joins an increasingly crowded field, showing that traditional watches, and watchmakers, will make the jump to digital.

Startup Pebble, beneficiary of the largest crowdfunding raise in history, announced both that the Pebble Time will is already arriving at customers' doorsteps and a new, third generation version of the Time will start taking pre-orders in June. The third generation Time has a powerful new integration with cab-hailing app Uber, among other nifty features.

Also joining the party this week was lower-end watchmaker Swatch, which announced on Thursday that it, too, will produce a smartwatch that will include electronics for NFC payments. CEO Nick Hayek told shareholders that the new model will launch in August in Switzerland and "one big country" that has yet to be named.

The above entrants join LG, Sony, Motorola and Samsung in an increasingly crowded field. Yet unlike smartphones, in which a few models will dominate, watches are a fashion choice which will see products differentiated on design and brand appeal, meaning there is room for a wide variety of players.

During a recent interview, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver summed that dynamic up best when he said: “Apple will get young people used to wearing a watch and later maybe they will want to buy themselves a real watch.”

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