Lookout Apple here comes Swatch.
Remember those kitschy watches all the kids wanted to wear back in the 80s that had the little rubber face protectors that prevented you from seeing what time it was the people wore it anyway? Well they are the best-selling watchmaker in the world and they're about to get serious about a smart watch. Currently the company is preparing to introduce a model that can make payments for wearers and display data sent by smart phones.
The chief executive of the company said that the first of these new lines will go on sale in May, but that they are not planning on competing with the smart watches being offered by Motorola, Pebble, and Apple. How he figures that is the case is not quite clear. Currently Swatch accounts for 18% of all watch sales on planet Earth. What do you want to bet they can outsell Apple's smart watch.
Currently the company makes devices under the brand names Omega, Calvin Klein, Rado, and more. The company has grown its market share over the past five years consistently and there's no reason to believe that is going to change in the near future. Some observers would disagree.
Some in the industry believe that Swatch and other mainstream watchmakers will be infringed upon by the tech industry newcomers who are entering the market. Swatch wouldn't be the first giant that was brought down a peg by Apple. Remember Microsoft and nearly 2000s?
Swatch has said the company is planning to introduce two different ways in which its device can communicate wirelessly to other technology and in turn to the wearer. These are:
Near field communication - this is a computer chip that can be utilized to make payments without making contact with any other hardware. This is the type of technology that could also open hotel doors as well as any compatible lock set to receive this type of digital communication. New all-digital vehicles like the 2015 Jeep grand Cherokee could also be potentially control was such a device via its internal system. Since it's keyless the doors could be opened, the car could be started, and all of the verbal commands that control the interior could all be accessed by the watch. The first device with near field communication will be released within the next two months.
Bluetooth - the new Swatch devices will be able to send and receive information to smart phones via Bluetooth. This could be used to display all manner of information updates from news feeds, text messages, or any other notification. Swatches with this type of chipset should be available by the summer according to the company. This would allow a user to use a search engine to search for internet providers by zip code, and although their smartphone is doing all the work the info will display on the watch face.
Swatch has already partnered with a Chinese company to provide touchless payments in that country via credit card. Reuters news agency reported that Swatch has a similar partnership in the works with Visa that would allow similar functionality in other countries including the United States.