Swiss watchmaker Swatch has announced that it is to enter into the smartwatch arena with its own operating system set to launch by the end of 2018.
According to Bloomberg, the company’s Tissot brand (one of 18 that it owns) will introduce a model next year that the focus of the tech will be on improved battery life and better data protection. The company says that it will make the platform available for other hardware makers and that it has had multiple inquiries about its availability from companies based in Silicon Valley.
A focus on improved battery efficiency makes sense when considering that Swatch launched the world’s smallest Bluetooth chip earlier this month. Building custom hardware around its own OS – rather than relying on off-the-shelf parts like some other vendors – may give the company an edge.
While this all sounds great right now, it’s also worth noting the concerns surrounding platform ubiquity. There already exists a huge ecosystem of apps on Google and Apple’s respective watch operating systems, and with no guarantees of an installbase developers may be reluctant to jump on board.
Equally as much of a concern is that this announcement comes with two years warning for other OS-makers. Android Wear is already feature rich and it’ll likely be a lot more refined when the Swatch OS comes around. Equally, who knows what Apple will get up to with its Watch OS in the next couple of years?
However with that said, with battery life being a concern for smartwatch users (most devices require a charge at least every night), combined with Swatch’s pedigree for design and its prestige as a watchmaker the ‘SmartSwatch’ could be a winner.