Google, Intel enter smartwatch stakes

The race is on to put data, entertainment, and–we assume–advertisements on consumers’ wrists.

With momentum for the Apple Watch building up a head of steam (it launches on April 24, and it’s not called the iWatch any more), Google and Intel yesterday announced a partnership with Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer to create a high-end Android-based competitor.

Tag Heuer has been making watches since the 1860s, and as part of the LVMH group is known as a luxury brand, and the project was announced at Baselworld 2015, the watch and jewelry. Expect, therefore, a high-end offering, unlike current Android wristwear which typically sells for a fraction of the anticipated $350 price of the Apple Watch (that’s basic–there’s a gold version too which will retail for $10,000).

The announcement came with no details of price or functionality, and the release date was said to be “later this year.”

After the failure of Google Glass, a more conventional form of smartwear may look promising from a Mountain View perspective; and the likely market for smart Tag Heuer wristwear is likely to appeal to marketers of high-end brands.

The challenge which still needs to be met, of course, is developing effective customer communications on a screen even smaller than a smartphone–at a time when mobile channels are becoming increasingly focused on promoting the value of video  content for brands.

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