Swiss watch makers Swatch want to tackle Apple in the smartwatch industry, but at the same time, they don't.
If the sentence above makes no sense, here’s a clarification: Swatch is going to make a smartwatch, but it won’t put a “mini mobile phone on your wrist”. It will be a watch, but with a few “smart” functions, including NFC for contactless payments.
During a press conference regarding the company's annual results which were released last month, chief executive Nick Hayek said new Swatch watches will have NFC technology.
“We are the world champions of integrating smart functions into a watch," Hayek said. “We don't want to produce a mini mobile phone on your wrist. Others can do that.”
He also praised Apple’s efforts, saying watches have lost their appeal, but now it just might return: "It's a fantastic opportunity for us. It is opening the market. Especially in the US, many people are not wearing watches anymore. Somebody is opening this up. Let Apple do the work. It's fine. It's good. I congratulate them,” he said.
Swatch has teamed up with China UnionPay, the Chinese credit card association, as well as a Swiss bank and a major credit card company for its NFC chips.
The upgrade will cost around 2 francs (£1.34) per watch.
But even though Swatch won’t be making a “mini mobile phone on your wrist”, it does plan on making a Swatch Touch smartwatch, capable of “teaming up” with your smartphone through Bluetooth.