Swatch has unveiled plans to release a smartwatch in the next three months with the capacity for mobile payments, ready to go head to head with the Apple Watch after its release in April.
At the latest the Swatch smartwatch will be released a few months after the Apple Watch, and Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek told Bloomberg that he is ready to go head to head with Apple.
Like the Apple Watch, the smartwatch made by Swatch will communicate using NFC, but will not need to be charged, Hayek said.
9to5Mac recently confirmed that the Apple Watch will have “roughly 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use versus 19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode”, with Apple CEO Tim Cook suggesting in early interviews that it would need to be charged once a day.
The Swatch watch will also work with Windows and Android software, Hayek said, but not iOS.
The move marks a swift turnaround for the swiss watch company. Hayek has been sceptical about the potential for smartwatches to take off, saying that watch screens are too small for communicating and that the products would need to be charged too often. Only last year Hayek said that Swatch would not be participating in a race to be first in developing smartwatches because he expected consumer resistance to the products.
Swatch has decades of experience developing technology with the potential for use in a smartwatch, such as tiny batteries so thin they can be bent. The market for timepieces that enable phone or data communication is expected to reach about $10billion in 2018.
Half of the market is expected to come from traditional watch wearers switching to the devices. This switch could be something that Swatch is looking to cash in on through its existing customer base, if it manages to release a competitively priced smartwatch with features to match its competitors in such a short time.
Swatch is currently in talks with retailers about its payment system, and expects to release the new product in two or three months.
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