Casio, the Japanese watchmaker and undisputed originator of “old school smartwatches” like those seen above, has announced that it’s jumping back into the high-tech wearables market currently dominated by Apple and Google. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Casio CEO Kazuhiro Kashio revealed that they are targeting a release in March 2016, and it will be a device that is comfortable and looks good. While “looking good” is certainly a subjective statement, Casio will have their work cut out for the next nine months.
The Casio CEO didn’t reveal any potential or mockup designs they’re working on, but he did say the device will be aimed at men with interests in outdoor sports and leisure activities. That will apply to both the smartwatch’s design/appearance, and the functions it will offer. It was said the wearable will be launched first in Japan and the U.S.
Kashio commented that their smartwatch will be affordable and practical, and should be priced around $400. That price might be a bit high for the “affordable” ideal, but Casio has a goal of making a device that “won’t break easily, is simple to put on, and feels good.” It better feel really good it’s priced the same as the 42mm Apple Watch Sport.
It’s not clear if Casio will use the Android Wear platform to power their wearable, but the WSJ believes Kashio has hinted it’s unlikely. The company has previously attempted to smarten up its popular G-Shock line of watches by introducing models with Bluetooth connectivity. But if Casio wants to debut a “real” smartwatch, and not rely on someone else’s platform, they’ll need to address the fact that users expect apps these days, something even Pebble offers with its simpler wearable.