A representative for Casio recently explained the reasons why the company has not ventured far into the fashion side of Android Wear smartwatches. The explanation was provided in an interview with Wearable at this year's CES 2017 event. Casio has - so far - focused its efforts on wearables entirely around outdoor use, because that is where it has found a market for its devices. The company has found that everyday users still don't know exactly what they want and the market is, therefore, very limited.
As a lead developer within the company's smartwatch product development, Kayo Okada has quite a bit of insight into the goings-on with Casio's smartwatch plans. Okada said that the company is focusing on the outdoor aspect of the business as that is currently where the market currently exists for its devices. Current sales and research have shown that the market for the watches is mostly niche-based with users still trying to discover exactly what use the devices will be to them. In Okada's words, "The users themselves don't know how to use smartwatches effectively." When Casio created its first Android-Wear enabled Pro Trek WSD-F10, it was well-received but also generated plenty of feedback. The first iteration did not include GPS because of constraints caused by power consumption. The underlying software in Android Wear, was also not optimized well enough to provide the stability Casio felt was needed to open up more uses.
With its newest device, marketed as the Pro Trek WSD-F20, Okada says Casio was able to take advantage of new optimizations and features using Android Wear 2.0. The software environment is still somewhat difficult to develop for, but Casio was able to address at least some complaints from the first device. The Pro Trek WSD-F20 now includes a low-power GPS chip and features offline maps with a range of settings to optimize their use. The WSD-F20 is scheduled for release on April 21, 2017, although details on the price have yet to be provided. However, consumers are clearly looking for specific features when they shop for a smartwatch. With many smartwatch manufacturers seeming to either drop out entirely or focusing on refinement of their designs to focus more on fashion, it may be that Casio's current position will set it apart as the go-to company for wearables designed for outdoors use. Okada seems to have confirmed that the company is content to approach wearables with this goal in mind, until consumers are ready for other use-cases.