Japanese watchmaker Casio is poised to do battle with technology giant Apple after revealing plans to launch its own smartwatch.
- Casio to launch smartwatch in early 2016
- Bosses already targeting ¥10 billion in sales
- Apple’s market share expected to slip to 38% by 2020
Casio, which has previously developed watches featuring heart rate monitors, diary managers and communication functions, aims to release the watches in Japan and the US by March next year.
And bosses have already set their sights on achieving ¥10 billion (£52m) in sales “as soon as possible” following the launch in its bid to become a serious rival to Apple.
Casio’s watches will retail at the lower end of the Apple Watch’s price range, with prices starting at around ¥50,000 (£260), the company’s new president Kazuhiro Kashio said. Apple Watch prices start at $349 (£223) in the US.
Kashio, who took the reins from his father Kazuo Kashio last month, said Casio’s design will be a watch that tries to be smart, rather than a smart device that also tells the time.
The company, which makes the popular G-Shock watches, has previously had patchy success using gadgetry in its timepieces. Kashio told the press as he unveiled his plans: “At times we just showed off with quirky features and then pulled those products when they didn’t sell well.”
Casio’s foray into the smartwatch market will be aimed at men involved in outdoor sports and leisure. Kashio added: “We are trying to bring our smartwatch to a level of watch perfection – a device that won’t break easily, is simple to put on and feels good to wear.”
Casio’s watch sales raked in ¥153 billion (£796.3m) during the year ending March 2015, but it faces a tough task if it is to emerge as a serious contender to Apple in the smartwatch market.
Apple is expected to take 56% of the total smartwatch market this year, according to information provider IHS.
But IHS predicts Apple’s market share will drop to 38% by 2020 as other smartwatch makers release their own models that use Google’s Android operating system.