Only a few days after Swatch executives hinted that the company would join the wearable tech game in the near future, a report from Reuters this weekend offered a few details about how that will happen. The Swatch Touch will debut next summer – but will it offer enough unique features to compete with devices from Samsung, Motorola, and the mighty Apple?
Even though the company already offers a product called the “Swatch Touch,” it seems as though the device being discussed in the Reuters report will take a different form. According to the report, the Swatch Touch “might allow the wearer to count the number of steps they take and calories they burn.” The Swatch Touch will also offer Bluetooth connectivity features, though just what form those will take are unclear right now.
Michel Willemin, head of Swatch’s semiconductor-making subsidiary EM Marin, offered some details on another interesting feature the Swatch Touch will offer:
“Low-power and low-voltage microchips are our specialty. The Swatch Touch, for example, is the only battery-powered device to have a touch screen that is always active because its power consumption is so low.”
That’s certainly welcome news, as many of today’s high tech electronics lose battery power quickly, needing recharges before the day has ended. If the Swatch Touch can deliver on Willemin’s promise, that could give the wearable an edge over the competition. That said, it’s tough to see how else the Swatch Touch might stand out against devices from more established gadget makers.
In fact, a statement from Swatch’s CEO, Nick Hayek, points to a relatively disdainful attitude toward the smartwatch category in general – or at least the path it’s on right now:
“Our first message for customers is the watch. If they like it, they might also be interested in the extra functions. It is a problem if you only define a product by its technology. Technology alone doesn’t sell, not in watches.”
That may have been true ten years ago, when Swatch teamed up with Microsoft on the ill-fated Paparazzi smartwatch. Furthermore, with most smartwatches having been available to consumers for less than a year – and Android Wear’s inaugural devices having only been available since July – it’s too soon to say whether or not these wearables will actually find widespread success.
However, with Google (and presumably Apple) making huge steps forward in making smartwatches desirable tech accessories, Hayek may be proven wrong before we even catch a glimpse of the Swatch Touch. By then, the Swatch Touch may be outpaced by watches that embrace all that technology has to offer.