We've been talking about Swatch making a big entrance into the world of smartwatches for a while now, and then Swiss watchmaker took the next step and announced that it's developing its very own smartwatch operating system.
Now, in an interview with Bloomberg, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek said the company's Tissot brand will launch the first watch powered by the new OS in 2018. Currently being dubbed Swiss OS, the platform is being built in partnership with research and technology company CSEM and is designed to be used for smartwatches and IoT devices.
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The OS promises fewer software updates than rival operating systems, compatibility with Bluetooth LE and aims to ensure that user data is well protected inside a private "Swiss vault". Hayek said Swatch's approach is to "think small" so that it can optimize its OS to maximize battery life.
It's worth noting that Swatch has been talking about smartwatches since 2015, when outspoken Hayek called the Apple Watch an "interesting toy", but by no means a revolution. Swatch has already unveiled an NFC payment watch with Visa and the beach volleyball-friendly Touch Zero One smartwatch, but it's yet to deliver a device to truly rival the Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear or Google's growing army of Android Wear watches.
The news that Swatch will enter the smartwatch market for real this time came when the watchmaker revealed it had a tough 2016 with profits dropping by 47% and revenue down by 11%.
The question is whether it's all come a bit late. Apple, Google, Samsung and Garmin are dominating things on the smartwatch front, Tag has just launched the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 and Fitbit is set to launch its first smartwatch before the end of the year. We're also expecting a whole host of new Android Wear smartwatches this year from the likes of Tag Heuer and Swarovski, though the latter told Wareable that its device has been delayed.
While it's definitely a positive that the iconic watchmaker now wants a piece of the action, the concern is whether it will be able to deliver something that can stand out from the smartwatch crowd. We sincerely hope it can.
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