Google, Intel and luxury Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer have announced a partnership that will see the three companies work together to create a smartwatch.
Little details or specifications of the planned watch were revealed, although it will be powered by Intel chips and run on Google’s Android Wear software.
The tie-up marks a clear attempt by Intel and Google to take on Apple in the wearables market after the firm unveiled its Apple Watch earlier this month ahead of an April release. Apple even poached a TAG Heuer executive last year.
It shows that Intel and Google recognise that to challenge Apple they need to match it for elegance as well as technological capabilities and so need a brand with the cachet of TAG Heuer to help them in this fight.
Stepping forward to do the honours, TAG Heuer general manager Guy Sémon touted the brand's heritage and focus on luxury.
"The quality of Swiss watches is renowned worldwide,” he said. “When this is allied with the creative technology and global power of two companies like Intel and Google, using the Android Wear platform and based on Intel technology, we can see the launch of a technological revolution in our industry.”
The alliance is clear evidence that the likes of TAG Heuer see Apple as a potential threat, as noted by CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood.
"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 smartwatch market we are certain others will follow,” he said.
Wood also noted that it was interesting the announcement was made at the luxury goods show Baselworld, which boasts bigger visitors numbers (150,000) than some of the tech sector's largest events, such as Mobile World Congress at 93,000 visitors.
“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," he said.
"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."
Apple is expected to dominate the wearables market in 2015, shipping anywhere between 10 million and 20 million devices, far ahead of any other firms in the market. However, Apple's arrival in the market will help boost other vendors by making the wearables more accepted among buyers.
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