Luxury Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer will be offering a $1,400 Android Wear-powered smartwatch for sale by October or November to take on the new Apple Watch and the growing smartwatch competition in the marketplace.
A spokesperson for TAG Heuer's parent company, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE of Switzerland, confirmed the expected release time and the device's operating system in an email reply to eWEEK on April 30. TAG Heuer presently makes traditional luxury timepieces (pictured) using fine materials and precision internal components.
In March, Google, Intel and TAG Heuer had announced a partnership to develop a new smartwatch that will include a new Intel microprocessor, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Google is contributing its Android Wear operating system to the project, while TAG Heuer will bring its design and styling acumen to the luxury watch.
No other details about the company's first smartwatch have been officially made available so far, but Jean-Claude Biver, who heads the parent company's watchmaking activities, recently said that its battery will last about 40 hours, according to an April 28 report by Bloomberg. That's more than twice as long as the 18 hours of battery expected for Apple Watch.
Biver said he hopes that Apple sells "millions and millions" of their new watches because it will prime the marketplace for competitors, according to the Bloomberg story. "The more they sell the more a few people will want something different and come to TAG Heuer," he said.
Apple Watches went on sale on April 24, and already the devices are in short supply, with some consumers being told that their watches won't ship until June or July, according to earlier eWEEK reports. The smartwatches start at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport version, which is available with a silver or space-gray aluminum body and with wristbands in many colors. The standard Apple Watch starts at $549 for a 38mm-wide version or $599 for a 42mm-wide model. Prices for the 38mm version can rise up to $1,049, while prices for the 42mm model can go up to $1,099, depending on the watchband selected. The regular Apple Watch can be purchased with a fluoroelastomer band or one of three different leather bands. The company's luxury version of Apple Watch is the Apple Watch Edition, with a price tag of $10,000. The most expensive version of Apple Watch, the 18-karat gold Edition version, is priced at $17,000.
The first problems with the new Apple Watches surfaced earlier this week, with some owners posting online claims of operational interference due to their wrist tattoos, while a defective tactic engine part is causing Apple to slow shipments of the devices.
The tattoo interference involves some Apple Watch owners who are finding that the devices aren't working properly when worn over their dark-colored wrist tattoos, which are causing problems with the watch's infrared sensors that enable wrist detection, according to an earlier eWEEK story.
Meanwhile, Apple Watch is also being mentioned as having problems with taptic engine components made by a Chinese supplier that are failing after only a short time, leaving the smartwatches without a feature that gives wearers the sensation that they are being tapped on the wrist for notifications.