The latest partnership in the world of wearable tech, US fashion brand Guess and California based smartwatch manufacturer Martian, has just been announced.
And while Guess and Martian may have come across as slightly pompous by stating the objective of their new strategic partnership was to "develop interactive, voice-command wrist accessories" (we think they mean smartwatches), it's a fascinating pairing nonetheless.
On the one hand you've got an established label that does a roaring trade in the 'dumb' watch market, and on the other a respected smartwatch 'expert' who could do with some global exposure to live outside tech's small inner-circle.
"We are excited to partner with Martian Watches," said Cindy Livingston, President and CEO of Sequel - the global distributor of Guess branded watches. "Of the smartwatch developers we've observed, Martian has captured what we believe is the essence of blending fashion with intelligent features. Their technology will help make our sexy designs, 'smart' - not just smartwatches that try to mimic the smartphone. It's the beginning of an era where wrist accessories will be able to do much more than tell time."
Partnerships could be the future
Livingston's comments are telling; as is the statement that the vision is a range "powered by Martian". So not Martian smartwatches per se, but Guess watches with Martian technology built in. It's a move similar to the one by online retailer Gilt, who has enlisted HP to power its smartwatch assault.
The Guess / Martian pairing is more intriguing, as the Irvine based smartwatch specialist was only founded in 2007 and isn't exactly a tech powerhouse. Sure, its Notifier and Voice Command range of smartwatches are well respected within the tech community (we included the former in our best smartwatch roundup) but if you ask regular shoppers if they've heard of the company and you're likely to get a blank response.
The partnership therefore hints at in interesting period of development for the wearable tech industry. With big brands struggling to adjust to the ever-connected marketplace, and Valley start ups struggling for exposure, we could yet have a few years of mutually beneficial back-scratching happening within the new genre.
There's no news on pricing or availability on the smart Guess range as of yet, but we'll keep you posted.
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