Is the to-be-released Swatch smartwatch the anti-Apple Watch?
Aug25

Is the to-be-released Swatch smartwatch the anti-Apple Watch?

Earlier this year, Swatch teased a different kind of smartwatch. Named the Touch Zero One, the $160 touchscreen device has general fitness tracker capabilities (monitoring calories burned and steps taken) but is specifically geared towards beach volleyball, harboring the ability to track spikes, high-fives, and low- and high-hits. The stats are forwarded to a companion app which, in turn, rates the user’s volleyball prowess on a scale of 0 to 100. The narrow scope of utility is precisely what sets the looming Swatch smartwatch apart from the crowd. Instead of cramming enormous functionality into a single device and thereby transforming it into a wrist-computer (read: Apple Watch), Swatch’s strategy appears to be “including individual tech features in different models.” The tactic makes sense, considering CEO Nicolas Hayek has stated the number ‘zero’ in the device’s title is for a reason. “Our product is called Touch Zero One and that gives enough room for Zero Five, Zero Nine. The Touch Zero One is not the end of development,” he told Tages Anzeiger.  The hardware is another distinctive break from the path most smartwatch manufacturers have been trotting — and again, that seems to be precisely the point. The Touch Zero One has a clunky cab-yellow plastic face and a multi-colored band that can only be described as sporty, but it is designed for function over fashion, after all. And in a market flooded with fitness devices ironically overly-preoccupied with aesthetics, some good old-fashioned utilitarianism is a welcome relief. But is the plan to go against the grain brilliant in its novelty, or is it merely an attempt to be different just to be different? Swatch has made its intention to go head-to-head with Apple painstakingly clear. Aside from calling the Apple Watch “a toy,” Hayek recently trademarked “One More Thing,” a phrase infamously used by the late Steve Jobs while announcing new devices.  Either way, Swatch’s tactic is certainly an interesting one, especially considering the fact that the Touch Zero Two will be here sooner than you may think. Although details are scarce, Hayek announced the watch will be unveiled at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de...

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Swatch smartwatch plans resurface, but how will it fare?
May29

Swatch smartwatch plans resurface, but how will it fare?

Swatch Group, the world’s largest watchmaking company, announced plans to launch its smartwatch with Internet and remote-payment capabilities this summer. CEO Nick Hayek recently announced at a shareholder meeting that the device is set to launch in Switzerland and “one big country.” Although he did not specify, Swatch’s recent payments deal with China UnionPay might serve as a clue. Over the past few months Hayek has promised that the Swatch smartwatch would feature a “revolutionary battery” and a high level of customizability, although further details are yet to be announced. More intriguing though is his repeated refusal to “put the mobile phone on the wrist,” since so many other companies were doing it. After such a long waiting game, it will be interesting to see how the Swatch watch fares when it finally does get released. With several different competitors ahead in the smartwatch game (Apple, Android, Pebble), the company’s lag in product release may spell its doom — especially considering the fact that analysts see Swatch as one of the entities more susceptible to financial failure in the event of Apple watch’s success. On the other hand, it seems as though Hayek is intent on creating a truly exceptional product, and given Swatch’s standing as watchmaker kingpin he certainly has the resources he needs at his...

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Swatch smartwatch may promise a six-month battery life
May11

Swatch smartwatch may promise a six-month battery life

Swatch has teased plans for its upcoming smartwatch for some time now, and the latest information reveals the device could hold a charge up to half of a year. “Whoever brings a battery for a smartwatch to the market that you don’t need to charge for six months has a competitive advantage,” said Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek. Indeed, a battery life of six months creams the competition: The Apple Watch dies after only 18 hours of use; Pebble Time promises a charge that will hold for seven to 10 days. Hayek said in an interview with Swiss publication Handelszeitung that Swatch is working with research group Belenos and battery producer Renata on the super battery. The goal is to come up with a battery that has uses beyond the Swatch smartwatch. “Next year we will come to the market with a revolutionary battery, not only for watches but also for automobiles,” said Hayek. Automobiles may seem like a strange industry for Swatch to get involved in, but it’s not foreign to Hayek. His father Nicolas Hayek, Sr. was heavily involved in the creation of Smart car technology before his death in 2010. This news about an industry-changing comes after Swatch announced initial plans for the smartwatch in March. The watch manufacturer has been working with outside partners to build certain features that Swatch isn’t familiar with, like touchscreens. Swatch plans to release its smartwatch in...

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Swatch smartwatch will not be a mobile phone on the wrist
Mar24

Swatch smartwatch will not be a mobile phone on the wrist

Nicolas Hayek, CEO of watchmaking giant Swatch SA, told Bloomberg Business in February that the company was planning on releasing a smartwatch. Not many details were revealed, but we now have more information about upcoming products, including the Swatch Touch Zero One. At its recent annual news conference, Hayek revealed some details about the Swatch smartwatch. First things first, the Touch Zero One will be able to connect to smartphones. A chip (NFC or Bluetooth) will allow for the smartwatch to display notifications, such as text messages and news updates. Hayek mentioned that future smartwatches will have NFC mobile payments thanks to partnerships with various credit card companies. For one, mobile payment capabilities in China will be provided through China UnionPay, a Chinese credit card association. Visa is rumored to be another partner. One of the most important features of Swatch smartwatches will be its customizability. Hayek himself said the company was very open to the watch being used in new, creative ways: “Whatever usage you want, you ask some creative people to create some apps and then our chip has different layers that you can program yourself — we give it to you.” Hayek reiterated throughout the Bloomberg Business interview how important battery power is to Swatch. According to Swatch, the Touch One Zero will maintain its charge for months.  “We are not going to transform and put the mobile phone on the wrist,” Hayek confidently told reporters at the news conference. And finally, the Touch Zero One will also have an activity tracker — and is waterproof, to boot. Though price hasn’t been reported, analysts speculate it will be around $160. Other products have yet to be announced, but the smartwatch will be available this...

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