This morning luxury watch manufacturer Tag Heuer unveiled its first foray into the smartphone market at an event in New York. The device, billed as a luxury smart watch is called the Carrera Connected and will retail at around $1500 so expect a price of around £1,000 when it hits stores in London and the rest of the UK.
The watch which has been created with the involvement of Google and Intel has been designed to make the watch ‘not look like a connected watch’ according to the company and, while obviously on the pricier side of smart watches, fits in well for a demographic who want the benefits of a smart watch without the ‘tech’ badge.
But what does it do?
While Apple alerted users in an ‘all guns blazing’ style when unveiling the Apple Watch earlier in the year Tag Heuer has been considerably more understated. In fact, there is little to no reference the ‘smart’ portion of the watch in its promo video.
Mobile app developers will be pleased to know that because the device is based on Android wear the app arsenal of the Google Store will be fully available for the Tag Heuer device and there may well be new applications built to suit the demographic at the higher end of the smart watch market.
Tag Heuer has not exactly focused on the smart side of the watch, likely leaving this to Intel and Google, which is understandable as the Swiss Manufacturer’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver commented on the watch as a ‘marriage’ between the luxury Swiss world of watches and Silicon Valley. This may be the first of such ‘marriages’ but we can expect more in the coming months.
What this does is open the smart watch bracket to more traditional watch wearers who admire the style in a traditional sense above the tech. The watch comes with just three faces which can be downloaded via the Google Play store and it has clearly been designed to resemble a watch with tech features rather than a smartphone masquerading as a watch.
Expect features such as fitness apps, travel alerts and message alerts to be popular in keeping with the established smart watch norm but we will be some time off established whether users of different smart watch brands have vastly different app uses.
An Apple Challenger?
With Apple nailing down its own infrastructure the market for smart watches on Android is wide open and it really is too early to see whether there is a clear leader for Android Wear devices.
That said, it is good to see that such an iconic market leader like Tag Heuer has taken up the mantle of luxury smart watch and has been able to work closely with partners like Google and Intel to see its goal become a reality.
As more and more traditional watch manufacturers expand their reach into the smart watch world we will likely see a shift in focus of both industries with new and innovative apps for smart watches developed and a change in the way watch manufacturers operate including their target market.
It might not quite be Brave New World territory but it is an exciting one nonetheless.