Up until now, tech companies have been the ones driving smartwatch innovation, while famous timepiece makers have stayed on the sidelines. However, the times could be changing. Watch vendor Swatch has just announced that it is working on timepieces with fitness functions to take on electronics giants such as Samsung, Sony and LG.
Swatch representative told the Wall Street Journal that the company will be adding the "usual features" of fitness bands to its Touch line of digital watches, but did not go into detail about what those might be. Current smartwatches and fitness trackers feature heart rate monitors and pedometers to log your number of steps, as well as software that ties all this information together.
According to the WSJ, the new features will launch in 2015. Swatch's existing Touch digital watches come in a variety of colors and patterns and cost $140 each. These timepieces feature a touch-screen LCD display on curved glass, and are water- and shock-resistant. Other than functions such as an alarm and timer, the watches don't do much else.
Samsung's Gear Live and LG's G Watch both run Google's wrist-optimized Android Wear system, and cost $200 and $230, respectively. These devices sync with your Android smartphone, show you messages and notifications, and even run some apps on your wrist. The Gear Live also packs an onboard heart rate monitor (albeit a finicky one) to track your vitals.
Apple's expected to launch its own iOS-friendly smartwatch this fall. The purported iWatch/iTime is rumored to have a heavy focus on fitness tracking, thanks to an array of built-in sensors and Apple's Health app.
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