Yes, it's that time of year when the smartwatch scene, like the smartphone scene, starts ramping up production for new gadgets that are set to arrive later this year. TAG Heuer is no stranger to luxury watches, but its Connected Carrera ($1500) smartwatch was an Android Wear-powered smartwatch that, for its premium materials, wasn't expected to sell much. After all, few everyday consumers can afford to spend $1500 on a smartwatch.
And yet, TAG Heuer has a successful brand name that helped the company sell over 100,000 units of its first-gen. Connected Carrera in 2016 - not a bad feat at all when you consider that some Android Wear smartwatches didn't reach that number.
Well, there's good news for those first-gen. TAG Heuer fans who are now wondering about what's next. In an interview, TAG Heuer CEO Claude Biver announced that TAG Heuer would produce a followup model to the first-gen. running Android Wear 2.0. Biver says that the goal this year for 2017 is to sell 150,000 TAG Heuer Connected Carreras.
Other juicy tidbits are worth noting. First among these is that Intel has already approved the microprocessors for the next-generation Connected Carrera as of last month, and that the new TAG Heuer smartwatches will soon be ready for production if they're not in production already. Intel will make the new processor, as it made the old one for the first-gen. Connected, and that the TAG Heuer Connected smartwatches are all made in Switzerland. TAG Heuer wants to give its smartwatch lineup a very luxury feel.
Biver also says that there are a few new things to expect with the next-gen. Connected Carrera outside of just the new Intel SoC: 1) Android Pay will come to the Connected Carrera for mobile payments on the wrist, 2) built-in GPS, 3) better battery life, 4) additional colors and build materials. Mobile payments mandates Near Field Communication (NFC), so expect NFC to make it to the upcoming Carrera as well.
One major piece of news worth noting is that TAG Heuer has a greater design to chase the Asian market - so TAG will make a smaller variant of the Connected Carrera for the Asian market and women in their current markets. In other words, TAG will join Swarovski and Huawei (who's a veteran in it now, it seems) in offering a lady smartwatch on the market.
TAG Heuer is certainly ready to continue its push in the smartwatch market, and, though we'd like to see TAG offer a more budget-friendly option, we're still encouraged by their persistence to remain in this market. It seems that Qualcomm isn't the only one with a resilient mindset in the smartwatch market.