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Google, Intel Pair Up To Challenge Apple Watch With Luxury Wearable

Intel and Google announced that they have teamed up with Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer to create a luxury smartwatch, the latest product in an increasingly competitive wearable market.

Google and Intel said Thursday that they have teamed up with Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer to create a luxury smartwatch, the latest product in an increasingly competitive wearables market.

Solution providers think that, if it achieves success in the app space, the new luxury watch powered by Google and Intel's collective technologies could prove to be a considerable competitor to Apple's new cutting-edge wearable, Apple Watch.

"It's not surprising that Google and Intel want to put out wearables ... but beating Apple Watch will be a challenge," said Stephan Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at Sigmanet, an Ontario, Calif.-based solution provider. "Apple's place in the market will make them the standard on watches. What Google's going to have to do is out-app them. The good thing is that this is an open frontier, and the market is still brand-new, so if Google can create better apps, they'll have the upper hand."

[Related: 10 Revelations From The Apple Watch Launch Event]

The new smartwatch will be powered by Intel technology and Android Wear, and will be designed by Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer to fit into the luxury end of the wearables market. It is set to be released at an unspecific date in 2015, according to Intel.

Apple Watch, launched last week, will go on sale April 24 and will range in price from $350 for a sports-based model to over $10,000 for an 18-karat, high-end gold watch. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company's newest product will include an array of fitness and communications-based apps.

While no further information was revealed about Intel and Google's new product, solution providers are contending that the level of its apps will ultimately lead to its success, or failure.

"TAG partnering with Google is good, because TAG has a younger perspective of luxury wearables, so I'd imagine developers would take a fresher look at the new Android device," said Monteros. "I expect to see developers come up with new innovative ideas and develop them quickly as the wearables market matures."

Android Wear, the wearable devices arm powered by Google's platform, has made strong headway in the wearables market, with six watches already on the market, including Gear Live, Moto 360, G Watch R and ASUS ZenWatch. These watches offer a variety of traditional smartwatch tools, including GPS support, weather information and connection to the user's Android device. A recent Canalys study revealed that Android Wear had 720,000 shipments since its debut in mid-2014.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel also has tried to exploit the upcoming wearables market. In September, the company partnered with fashion accessories retailer Fossil Group to identify and develop emerging trends in the wearable technology space. More recently, at CES in January, the company announced an Intel Curie module, a low-power, 32-bit Intel Quark SE SoC built for wearables.

"It's good to see Google and Intel working together ... it's a natural partnership that makes sense to both companies," said Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus, an Intel partner based in Minnetonka, Minn. "Google's done amazing things with Android and opened up doors in a variety of different places, and Intel needs to work with the top software provider out there to continue to bring innovative features to the table and gain market space."

While smartwatches have been at the forefront of the news for the past few weeks, the tech world is still wondering if the market will take off.

"The wearables market is flooded, and it's not taking off in leaps and bounds, so I'm not as optimistic that this will become a trend," said Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst at Tirias Research. "I think we'll see a lot of maneuvering in the industry around wearables, but industrial-based apps will be what boosts the market. Everyone's doing their best to go after consumer applications, but the consumer market can be fickle."


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