TAG Heuer to develop Android Wear powered smartwatch

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Swiss watchmaker teams with Google and Intel to develop first wearable technology device

Watchmaker TAG Heuer will work with chipmaker Intel and Google to create its first smartwatch, it has announced.

The Swiss manufacturer – part of luxury goods-maker LVMH Group – becomes one of the first traditional watchmakers to join Google’s Android Wear ecosystem.

The 155 year old brand made the announcement at watch and jewellery conference BaselWorld earlier today, with the the smartwatch likely to launch by the end of the year.

LVMH president (watch division) Jean-Claude Biver told the BBC: “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?

“It would be absurd, it would be arrogant to believe that we could develop our own [operating system]. It would be a catastrophe to believe such a stupid thing. Google is not producing watches, so the relationship is perfect.”

Logical step

Research from analyst firm Canalys said that there was 720,000 Android Wear devices sold worldwide in 2014.

CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood said the buzz around the Apple Watch, which was officially launched at Apple’s Spring Forward event on March 9, meant traditional watchmakers had to take notice of the growing smartwatch sector.

“Tag Heuer’s decision to partner with technology companies to deliver a smartwatch that will likely be the first of many similar deals,” Wood added. “As the Baselworld event shows, the luxury goods space is big business. We believe it is a logical step for other watch companies such as Swatch (which owns brands including Omega, Tissot, Longines and Calvin Klein) and Fossil (DKNY, Diesel and Adidas) to enter the smartwatch space as well.

“Smartwatches are turning out to be the hottest news coming out of the Baselworld luxury goods show. With Apple Watch hitting the market it’s no longer viable for Swiss watchmakers to bury their heads in the sand. Now Tag Heuer has signalled its intention to enter the smart watch market we are certain others will follow”.

“It’s no surprise Tag Heuer decided to make this announcement in Basel rather than at a tech show like Mobile World Congress. It knows success will come from supporting its traditional sales channels which can offer the exclusivity and customer service that cellular retailers lack. Apple has clearly figured this out too, which is why it has shunned operators and consumer tech retailers instead favouring its own store and flagship stores like Selfridges in London and Galeries Lafayette in Paris.”

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