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Swatch Takes on Google, Apple With Watch Operating System (bloomberg.com) 65

Corinne Gretler, reporting for Bloomberg: Swatch said it's developing an alternative to the iOS and Android operating systems for smartwatches as Switzerland's largest maker of timepieces vies with Silicon Valley for control of consumers' wrists. The company's Tissot brand will introduce a model around the end of 2018 that uses the Swiss-made system, which will also be able to connect small objects and wearables, Swatch Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said in an interview Thursday. The technology will need less battery power and it will protect data better, he said later at a press conference. Switzerland's four-century-old watch industry has been adjusting to new competition since Apple entered its territory with the Apple Watch in 2015. Hayek faces the uphill challenge of trying to outsmart Google and Apple, which have fended off would-be rivals to their operation systems in smartphones and watches.
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Swatch Takes on Google, Apple With Watch Operating System

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  • ...but that's kind of taken.

  • by ctilsie242 ( 4841247 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @01:27PM (#54052075)

    Every time I read about a new OS for IoT devices, it likely is about some new feature, but because of the mentality that security has no ROI, it means the new device is now an IoT toy for the blackhats.

    If Swatch wanted to do things "right", the OS in question would be something lightweight like QNX, heavily compartmentalized (think SELinux), and done "right" from the ground up, so OS updates are as infrequent as possible, and when they come, they are ideally features, not fixing some obvious bug that should have been caught well earlier in the dev cycle.

    I hope they think it through, make a lightweight, secure OS, designed to run on hardware that runs days to weeks between charges. A watch doesn't need tons of apps slurping up CPU. Instead, they should design with a philosophy similar to the original PalmOS. Black/white, do something simple, do it well.

    • The problem is ease of development - use something developers are already familiar with and suddenly there's a massive pool of people making 'apps' for your new device, which helps it appeal to the consumer since you're probably not going to build an app library of your own out of the gate.

      People don't want a watch anymore - they want a wrist computer that primarily tells time but tracks a bunch of other stuff and brings some of it to your attention as necessary. No matter what OS you write, it's going to

      • I haven't worn a watch in nearly 12 years. My last watch battery died, and the batter cost more than the watch did originally. I thought I'll see if I miss it.

        A few days later, my tan came back.

        A month later, I stopped "missing" it on my wrist.

        A year later passed and ... I didn't even care.

        Twelve years later, I still have clocks all around me telling me what time it is. Often atomically accurate to within milliseconds. And I don't miss a wrist clock at all.

        • by msk ( 6205 )

          I used to go through watches like I used to go through chocolate.

          I bought my last watch in 2009. I wear it a few times per week. Light charges it. It's on the original battery. I never have to set it, because it listens to WWV.

          Casio FTW.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Is it even an IoT device? Most smart watches are not connected directly to the internet, only to a phone via Bluetooth.

      • by Vairon ( 17314 )

        In my opinion a device utilizing IEEE 802.15 (Bluetooth) to connect to a device utilizing IEEE 802.11 (Wireless LAN) to connect to a device utilizing IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet) to connect to other devices utilizing IEEE 802 standards across the network of networks that we call the Internet makes it an IoT (Internet of Things) device.

        Do you feel like in order to be a IoT device it must have an IP address?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          By that standard Bluetooth headphones are an IoT device. A monitor is an IoT device, after all it displays data downloaded from the net... I think you need more specific criteria.

          • by Vairon ( 17314 )

            In my opinion, Bluetooth headphones are IoT devices. They are a network device utilizing an IEEE 802.15 protocol to connect to other devices within their network. Those devices in turn may be connected to other network devices using the same or other IEEE 802 protocols. The name we give the network made up of all these smaller networks is the Internet.

            I would not consider a monitor an IoT device. It is not utilizing an IEEE 802 protocol to communicate with other devices on its network. If it's not in a netw

          • by adolf ( 21054 )

            IoT. Internet of Things.

            First word: Internet. We know what this means, right?

            Second word: Of. Do we need remedial English here, too?

            Third word: Things. Not specified is if they are large things, small things, proxied things, firewalled things, publicly-routable things, or other things. They're just things, ultimately connected to the Internet.

            It's a very inclusive term.

          • by Misagon ( 1135 )

            Bluetooth headphones are single-use devices, not designed to run arbitrary code. They may have a processor in them, in form of a DSP or a small microcontroller - but which has its firmware locked.

            Smartwatches are supposed to run arbitrary code, and to get software updates over Bluetooth - That is what makes them smartwatches.

      • There are 4G smartwatches that connect directly to a mobile network.
    • A watch doesn't need tons of apps slurping up CPU. Instead, they should design with a philosophy similar to the original PalmOS. Black/white, do something simple, do it well.

      You just described every non-smart watch.

      • Exactly. Do we need watches to be "smart" being yet another screen with bloated apps and coded by the cheapest people hirable? Not really. Having apps designed for low power, low CPU, low RAM, and low storage will bring a better benefit than trying to compete with WatchOS and Android head to head.

  • by aicrules ( 819392 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @01:34PM (#54052143)
    Otherwise Parker Lewis will stick with iWatch.
  • I wear a Roamer mechanical watch (Swiss made, 1955, 17 jewel MST movement) and don't see the appeal of a watch with an operating system. Even if I were part of the target market for smart watches, I'd want tight integration with my cell phone and its apps, and I'd expect Apple or Google to be able to implement that better than a third-party OS. Guess we'll see, but I'm not expecting great things from this.
    • Very few people want a watch that is "Smart", just like very few people want "Smart" Refrigerators, "Smart" Thermostats, and just about everything else being pushed as IoT. Watches are probably the worst, because it has become a redundant piece of Jewelry when every single phone built today has a functional clock.

      People don't want to waste time tracking their heartbeat online, or looking at their home thermostat at work. Your "Meh" expresses the opinion of all but 1 person I work with regularly when talki

      • Watches are probably the worst, because it has become a redundant piece of Jewelry when every single phone built today has a functional clock.

        Unless you are a teenager/hipster and walk around with your phone permanently in your hand, it is still quicker to use a wrist watch to tell the time than take your phone out of your pocket and unlock it.

        A phone is more like a pocket watch, and there is a good reason why they lost out to wrist watches.

        • by s.petry ( 762400 )
          Completely false analogy. Pocket watches were around at a time where we didn't have monitors all over the place showing the time, and we didn't work on computers which showed the time. Not getting "time" is trivial since it's literally surrounding you. When did people normally check the time? Looking for a ride/coach/train, and today we have software on our devices handling the ticketing so need the phone out anyway.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Excellent taste in watches, by the way. You can't beat the elegance of a simple analog watch, especially from the era before it became stylish to be large and vulgar.

      I'm a collector vintage Indian watches, which while not quite of the same quality embody much the same aesthetic and can be had for about $15, including shipping from India.

      • Thanks! It's my favorite watch, and I definitely agree about modern watches usually being overly large and (IMO) ugly. I'll have to check out the vintage Indians you mention.
      • Oh yes I also have an HMT Janata and a black and a white pilot HMT. Lovely!
  • Two years ago, Tissot said they'd have a smart watch available now. Now, they say the end of next year. I think I'll be hearing announcements about this for a while.
    • Do you realize how complicated a mechanical kernel is? Even 1MHz is hard to get out of an escarpment.

      I don't understand why the Swiss think they have any sort of lead on this tech? They build jewelry that keeps decent time.

  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @02:04PM (#54052351)
    Here's your smart watch:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AJ2YDZC/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I have one and it is substantially larger than it looks in the picture.
  • I think they are already too late. Apple has set the bar very high (battery life aside) and I doubt Apple will help Swatch interface with ios.
    • by seoras ( 147590 )

      Agreed. Swatch are a watch maker, not a software company.
      I see a parallel in that between Nokia and Apple. Nokia were a mobile phone manufacturer, not a software company.
      This announcement to me smacks of management going through the motions so that they don't look as bad as Nokia did when their market share diminishes.

      I recently stuck a toe in the smart watch waters by buying a 2nd hand Apple Watch S1.
      Got a stainless steel model for 1/4 of it's price new a year ago.
      I was not convinced of the need for a smar

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @03:04PM (#54052693) Homepage Journal

    vies with Silicon Valley for control of consumers' wrists.

    Not mine. It will take something pretty special to displace Lucy Lawless.

  • The only thing that doesn't immediately make me believe this to be complete nonsense is the far-off timeline. If someone popped up tomorrow (even an established brand in either operating systems or watches), stating they would be releasing a competing product next month...I'd call B.S.immediately.

    Not that I think they have a chance at all, but I certainly hope we see a viable product hit the market. At the very least, Apple can incorporate (or steal depending on your '*-boi' status), bettering whichever p
  • I'm sure it will be ready around the same time as my Waytools Textblade finally ships.
  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @04:44PM (#54053339) Homepage Journal

    Switzerland's four-century-old watch industry has been adjusting to new competition since Apple Inc. entered its territory with the Apple Watch in 2015.

    Wrong. It was already doing that when digital watches appeared in the 1970s.

    P.S. I spotted & corrected the a-hat-TM in the copied section. Ain't preview marvellous, manish?

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