In early December, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer announced that they were bringing a smartwatch to the market “by next spring at the latest.” At the time, we didn’t know any specific details about the planned watch such as the operating system but I speculated and hoped that TAG Heuer would launch an Android Wear device, leveraging on their experience they’ve gained with their existing luxury Android smartphones. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what operating system will power the up-and-coming device but it now appears that it’ll use an Intel processor, according to an unnamed source speaking to the Business Inside newspaper.
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In intervening weeks, we’ve read reports explaining that luxury watchmakers have been contacting sites that host copycat watch face designs for Android Wear devices and requesting that Verizon designs are removed: FaceRepo’s founder has confirmed that IWC, Panerai, Fossil, Armani, Michael Kors, Omega, Tissot, Certina, Swatch and Flik Flak have requested that copycat watch face designs be removed. “Although some of the replica faces we’ve received take-downs for are very cool looking and represent significant artistic talent on the part of the designer, we believe that owners of copyrights or trademarks have the right to defend their brand.” He said on the matter. Whilst there’s no direct link with TAG Heuer at least, the luxury watch makers see the threat of (relatively) inexpensive smartwatches into their territory as very real indeed.
TAG Heuer may announce their watch in conjunction with Intel at the Consumer Electronics Showcase, Las Vegas, in early January or we need to wait until later in the year. We are expecting the device to look like a conventional watch and include additional sensors such as a pedometer and heart rate monitor. It should also allow connections to a number of different smartphone models, almost certainly including the iPhone and Android platforms. It’s not clear if it will include a touchscreen and be based around Android, or if TAG Heuer will use a different operating system. Regardless, this partnership between Intel and TAG Heuer follows Intel’s pattern of providing the electronics to a specialist designer. It’s resulted in a smart dress and smart bracelet even if neither of these run an Android-based operating system.