Luxury Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer is working on a new smartwatch with help from Google and Intel, the companies announced Thursday. While it’s unclear what any resulting device will look like, the companies said it would be packed with Intel hardware and run Google’s Android Wear wearable operating system software.
“Swiss watchmaking and Silicon Valley is a marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility,” said Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer parent company Hublot, in a statement. “Our collaboration provides a rich host of synergies, forming a win-win partnership, and the potential for our three companies is enormous.”
The move is clearly a response from both companies to the Apple Watch, which goes on sale April 24. While the entry-level Apple Watch starts at $349, the higher-end gold models begin at $10,000 and will compete with luxury offerings from the likes of TAG, Rolex and more.
Google can provide TAG Heuer with expertise in smartwatch software it’s gained through developing Android Wear. TAG Heuer can in turn give Google’s brand more credibility in the luxury watch space, helping it better compete with Apple in that arena. Most Android Wear devices fall in the $200-$500 range, prices classifying them more as consumer electronics rather than luxury goods.
The Google-TAG Heuer news comes after co-inventor of the famous Swiss watch brand Swatch said he expects the higher-end Apple Watch to be a major threat to Swiss luxury watchmakers.
The introduction of the Apple Watch could cause the global smartwatch market to balloon from 4.6 million units sold last year to upwards of 28 million this year, per Bloomberg.
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