The watch industry’s big trade fair, Baselworld, started today, and the first smartwatch announcement is a bit of a deflation. TAG Heuer and Intel went public with their much-rumored alliance, but it turns out that the software behind it will be Android Wear.
Reuters reports that the hardware will be based on TAG Heuer’s popular Carerra design, pictured here. There are many variants on the base Carerra face, but the central idea is a large clock face with three smaller dials. The news agency quotes Jean-Claude Bivet, TAG Heuer’s CEO, as saying the smartwatch will look just like a standard Carerra, but with the usual smartwatch functionality.
It’s perhaps indicative of Apple’s power in the market that the Reuters article says that the TAG Heuer watch will have “many of the same functions as the Apple watch such as geolocation, distance walked and altitude.” These, of course, are the functions of most fitness trackers, let alone smartwatches — let alone that the distinguishing feature of the Apple Watch is its UI, and that its functionality goes well beyond the three features Reuters mentions.
The initial press release regarding the collaboration came from Intel, and does not say anything about the watch itself — features, availability, or pricing. [UPDATE: Bloomberg reports that the watch will be available later this year, and that pricing and further details will be announced then.]
Bivet is quoted by Reuters as saying that Apple will expand the watch market, although he’s a little snotty about it:
“Apple will get young people used to wearing a watch and later maybe they will want to buy themselves a real watch,” Biver said.
We suspect that that “real watch” comment will find its way onto bulletin boards in California…