You could argue that Casio invented the smartwatch. It unveiled the first digital wristwatch some forty years ago. In the years that followed, it unveiled a watches (some pictured here) that offered a range of functions now commonly found on smartwatches. Watches with TV remote controls, barometers, depth meters, electronic compasses and even one sporting a thermo scanner (the TSR-100) were all offered at one time or another.
The company this week revealed that it plans to jump into the modern smartwatch market with an entry of its own in early 2016. Casio’s new president, Kazuhiro Kashio, told The Wall Street Journal that the company will take a slightly different approach than its competitors. It promises a watch “that tries to be smart, rather than a smart device that is also a watch.”
Little is known about the Casio smartwatch at this point. Kashio only revealed that “we are trying to bring our smartwatch to a level of watch perfection: a device that won’t break easily, is simple to put on and feels good to wear.” Casio is looking to hit the US$400 price point (that could still change) with men interested in outdoor sports and leisure activities as the key demographic.
Casio has already spent about four years developing its smartwatch. Various prototypes, including a bulky phone watch, were rejected over this time. Its G-Shock line of watches already offers a number of smartwatch features including connecting to a smartphone to display various alerts and notifications. This experience should serve it well as it develops its first true smartwatch.
Casio recognizes that competition will be stiff. “I don’t think the smartwatch will be an instant success but we want it to grow in the long term,” explained Kashio.during the interview.
The first Casio smartwatch is expected to launch by the end of March 2016. Initial markets include both Japan and the U.S.
An exhibition of early Casio “smartwatches” is currently on at the Casio Museum in Tokyo. It runs until July 24th 2015.
Source : The Wall Street Journal