Watchmaker Casio will launch its first smartwatch in 2016, four decades after it brought the digital wristwatch to the world.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports the Japanese firm is in the process of developing the device, with plans to release it in Japan and the US by late March next year.
New president Kazuhiro Kashio revealed the plans during an interview with WSJ, after he was handed the reins by his father Kazuo Kashio, who stepped down from the position after 27 years in charge.
The new head said Casio’s smartwatch offering was designed to address the mass market need for comfort and durability, and will have an “affordable” price tag, similar to the low end Apple Watch.
“Apple and other smart watches are not made by watchmakers,” he said. “We want to make something that has the complete fit and feel of a watch, and is unique to Casio.”
The Japanese firm is renowned for bringing innovations to watches over the years, but has not always enjoyed widespread success. The company has previously introduced watches with heart rate monitors and communications functions.
“At the time we just showed off with quirky features and then pulled those products when they didn’t sell well,” said Kashio.
The new president spent four years heading up a team to develop the smartwatch, and he said the device will mainly target men involved in outdoor sports, and for leisure, in terms of functions and appearance.
It expects to secure approximately $80 million from smartwatch sales after the launch, and it will then “expand the business from there”, added Kashio.
According to information services firm IHS, the global smartwatch market will grow to 101 million shipments in 2020, from 3.6 million in 2014.