With Android Wear 2.0 due next month (with most outlets pegging a not too distant release date of February 2), we’re in a bit of a post-CES wearable holding pattern at the moment. The delay of Google’s wearable operating system was largely seen as a contributing factor in the declining smartwatch space, but certainly not the sole driver.
In a recent interview with Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver still appears bullish about the technology’s potential, tossing out some positive projections, while casually announcing the second generation of the company’s Connected device, due out in May.
While Biver didn’t mention Android Wear 2.0 by name, it seems likely that the sequel to the brand’s luxury $1,500 smartwatch will arrive with the latest version of Google’s OS. While discussing the product, the CEO noted the difficulty in distinguishing its devices, given the fact that all hardware producers – Apple included – are essentially working with the same technologies and constraints.
This time out, however, the new Connect will feature GPS (absent on the last gen), longer battery life, better reception and an improved display – a sticking point on the last version. Though, not as big a sticking point as that price tag, of course. The new watch will also arriving in different sizes and colors — an upper hand the company has in production as a traditional watchmaker.
What’s equally interesting here are the numbers. According to Biver, the company moved 56,000 units of the $1,500 watch – more than double the 20,000 it initially anticipated. The exec added that the company expects to move nearly triple that number at – 150,0000. Though it’s tough to imagine that kind of jump in shipments without some truly breakthrough technology – or a big price drop.
That sort of increase in production would, naturally, lead to better margins for the company. Biver also adds that interest in smartwatches has effectively raised all boats for the company, and leading to an increase in sales of the company’s non-smart devices.