Watchmaker Swatch is reportedly planning to create an alternative smart watch platform to power its devices, passing on Google’s Android Wear and the Tizen platform used by Samsung in favour of its own technology.
According to Bloomberg, an in-house powered device will launch late in 2018, from Swatch’s Tissot brand. Nick Hayek, CEO, said the intention is to deliver a platform which needs less battery power and better protects data.
Apparently, work was conducted in partnership with the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, and the platform will be made available to other companies who do not want to be dependent on third-party platforms.
What is not clear is how much of a smart watch platform Swatch is intending to create: the company has not so far embraced fully-fledged smart watches which support third-party apps, although it integrated some “smart” features, such as payments.
Hayek has previously been lukewarm toward the smart watch market.
While creating a platform which connects to smartphones to deliver notifications and track steps is no small task, it would be more achievable than creating a fully-fledged alternative to Android Wear or Tizen, which both support third-party apps.
Research firm Canalys recently warned connected watches offering notifications, but not full smart watch functionality, “risk ending up like basic bands: being taken over by smart watches in 2018”.
With the smart watch segment nascent, the appeal for developers of supporting an alternative platform would be limited.