updated 12:28 am EDT, Mon September 2, 2013
Casio chief says company ready for smartwatch revolution
The chief executive of Casio says his company is already prepared to face new competition in the watch sector from tech giants like Apple and Samsung. Speaking with The New York Times, Kazuo Kashio proclaimed that his company has long known the value of the wrist with regard to wearable computing, and that it has been preparing accordingly. Casio has already introduced devices that integrate a number of mobile technologies.
"Suddenly, everyone's discovered the wrist," Kashio said in an interview. "We've known for a long time it's prime real estate. We're prepared."
Kashio's comments reflect increasing interest across the tech industry in wearable mobile computers. Since February, rumors and reports have flourished that a number of tech giants are preparing to release smartwatches, wrist-worn devices that connect with smartphones in order to give users at-a-glance updates on their digital lives.
Most recently, Samsung has confirmed that it will be revealing just such a device early in September. A prototype of that device, dubbed the Galaxy Gear, apparently leaked to the Internet on Sunday.
Search giant Google has also apparently signaled its interest in entering the smartwatch segment. Google is believed to have purchased a smartwatch manufacturer in the summer of last year. That manufacturer, WIMM Labs, made one device, the WIMM One, and was in the process of developing it into an Android-powered watch platform.
Apple is also widely thought to be preparing to step into the wearable computing market. Previous reports have the iPhone maker building a team of more than 100 members to design an "iWatch" for release some time over the next year.
Previous Casio offerings have integrated Bluetooth connectivity in order to pair with a smartphone and relay information. Those devices were compatible with earlier generations of the iPhone, as well as Android-powered devices, and they were priced around $230. Users could view the numbers and names associated with incoming calls and emails, and the watches would display incoming text messages. They could also control switch smartphones into vibrate mode without the user needing to touch the phone.
Casio future plans involve improving the toughness of its devices, ensuring that a smartwatch will not break should it be slammed into a wall or dunked in water. Future devices may also include fitness-oriented aspects, allowing joggers to post details of their runs to the Internet.
Kashio believes that Casio's long history, with multiple product wars fought in the past, has prepared it for the entry of other tech giants onto its turf.
"I don't think anyone," the Casio chief said, "is as passionate about counting numbers, or time, as we are."