I've got a new part time job: Baselworld hype girl. As you'll remember from last week's #Trending, I talked about how anyone feeling blue about the almost complete lack of wearables at MWC should console themselves with teasers for the watch and jewellery show in Basel. Now it's just two weeks away!
In case you're not already all amped up at the prospect of new smartwatches, check out our Baselworld preview, which we'll keep updating.
The bigger story, though, is that nearly everything we're expecting launch-wise is in the form of new Android Wear watches. I mean, sure Swatch is building its own Swiss OS, but most watchmakers are content to let Google handle the tech side of things.
Funny, then, that a mere 90 days ago, we ran an op-ed saying that Google doesn't care about Android Wear. Hands up, we spoke too soon. Instead it seems that a lot has been going on behind the scenes over the past 6 - 12 months.
Since the start of 2017, we've been on a see-saw of Android Wear launches and teasers that's just as quietly thrilling as that sounds.
So Google's trying to make a splash?
Seems so. It started when the New Balance RunIQ got its re-launch after a year of waiting - we're testing that watch at the moment.
The New Balance together with the second gen Casio and the light-on-details tease of a Swarovski Android Wear watch for women kicked off a steady stream of announcements that seems to be putting Android Wear back on track.
Then came the news that Tag's second go at smartwatches will be coming at Baselworld - the Tag Connected Modular, that is. Fossil reminded us it's planning to launch 300 wearables this year.
And at MWC we got the three new models of the Huawei Watch 2 - it got a lot of attention at an otherwise quiet show but whether that is deserved remains to be seen, we're testing the Huawei right now too.
What's the latest?
I'm getting to that. This week Movado Group put out the news that Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger and Movado will be bringing Android Wear watches to Basel. That's a big deal as Movado has stuck to stylish hybrid smartwatches so far - obviously Wear 2.0, standalone Android Pay etc was enough to encourage this new push.
Sounds like Google is Hugo Bossin' its partnerships
You said it. It looks like it has succeeded in becoming well, the Android of wearables, the go-to OS for companies wanting to build a smartwatch. As we've previously mentioned, Google's VP of engineering David Singleton told us that Android Wear watch sales are much higher than is generally estimated too. That stands them in good stead with a new slate of more useful than ever, designer watches.
Is it going for Apple Watch sales?
Not necessarily, it's not ten million a year or go home. Then again, Apple has brand loyalty, sure, but so do the designers and labels Google is shacking up with. In terms of style, I'm particularly interested to see what Swarovski et al do for women - Movado Connect will have five men's watch styles but nothing for the ladies.
What about sports?
The likes of Casio, New Balance and Huawei on the sportier side have the might of the Garmin range, the underdog does good TomTom and the upcoming Fitbit smartwatch to compete with. It's all getting rather crowded.
Has it all been rosy?
Not so. Some have pointed to the fact that the Michael Kors Access watches, one of which is aimed at women, have disappeared from the Google Play Store as cause for concern. I'd bet most Michael Kors smartwatches are sold via Fossil and MK stores though, not to Google geeks browsing online.
Plus it's likely we'll see a new watch from the designer at Baselworld as part of Fossil's showcase as it's been a year since the first Access was launched. I swear I'm not on commission. But it really will be an Android Wear fest this year. Get ready.
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