The Swatch Group is going all out in embracing the smartwatch industry. Switzerland’s biggest watchmaker is not just planning to launch a new smart wearable soon, it’s also developing an operating system for such products.
CEO Nick Hayek confirmed to Bloomberg on Thursday that the company is vying to have a share of the pie which Apple, Google, and Samsung have been dominating in the last couple of years. Expressing his skepticism toward smartwatches with dominant platforms, he said in an interview that the Swiss-made OS will serve as a more flexible alternative to the likes of Google’s Android Wear, Samsung’s Tizen OS, and Apple’s WatchOS. Specifically, it will require less battery power and protect data better.
“I don’t want to become the industry standard for smartwatches,” Hayek said, adding it would be dangerous if everybody depended on just one or two dominant operating systems. “But in Switzerland, we have a lot of expertise when it comes to creating something that is smaller, consumes much less energy, is independent and more cost-efficient and can go into little objects.”
Swatch’s latest project is in collaboration with Swiss research institute CSEM, and if all goes smoothly, it will launch before 2018 ends.
Swatch Smartwatch OS: Does the company have a chance?
Swatch, according to Reuters, had received more than a hundred requests from small US-based startups looking for flexible open-source systems, which the new platform will soon cater to in addition to Swatch’s own products. While a Swatch OS is exciting in consumers’ perspective, it actually poses a challenge to the company.
Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca is not sold on the idea of a customized smartwatch operating system. According to him, most people expect their wearables to run the same apps they have on their mobiles, and that alone is already a gigantic task. “A proprietary operating system defeats the object,” he said.
Founded in 1983, Swatch was once a leading player in the timepieces industry. However, as other makers entered the race and outsmarted the company with more advanced products, Swatch’s market share has slowly shrunk. Hayek has been adding electronic functions to its less expensive brands such as Tissot and its namesake timepieces.
We can recall that the company has had a second consecutive year of negative growth, with net sales dropping nearly 11 percent last year. By launching more innovations such as its own OS, the watchmaker hopes revenue would increase soon.
Any thoughts? What features would you like to see in the upcoming Swatch smartwatch OS? Leave your comments below!