Last month Kazuhiro Kashio replaced his father as president of Casio and he has big plans for the company’s watch division. Casio will be releasing a smartwatch for the Japanese and U.S. markets in March 2016. The design of the watch will emphasize comfort and durability and Casio says it “will be a watch that tries to be smart, rather than a smart device that is also a watch.” The watch intends to be affordable in the $350 range but the price has not been officially confirmed. Kashio says the function and appearance of the watch will be aimed at men involved in outdoor sports and leisure activities. Kashio hopes initial sales of the smartwatch will be $80 million.
Hopefully Casio will come up with a smartwatch that is more than an expensive, marginally useful fashion statement. With all this talk of a durable smartwatch for outdoor sports use, perhaps the G-Shock line will eventually get its own tough smartwatch model. Or maybe the first smartwatch will actually be a G-Shock and our minds will be blown. It wouldn’t be such a far-fetched idea, as G-Shock is Casio’s strongest product line and most well-known brand. Or perhaps Casio will be introducing a new brand for its smartwatch line. (Update: The Lauderdale Daily News reports that “Casio with its G-Shock brand is marching into the potentially disruptive smartwatch market,” but this is the only place we’ve heard that.) The Casio smartwatch has been in development for four years so hopefully they will get it right the first time just like they did with the first G-Shock model.
With Apple owning half of the smartwatch market and Google closing in with its Android Wear smartwatches, Casio faces a tough challenge. If Casio can give the consumers what they want with practical features and good battery life, there is no reason why such a successful and innovative watch company can’t adapt to the new market.
Update: Casio has announced the new smart watch at CES 2016, the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10.
Fujikawa, Megumi. “Casio Bets on a Watch That Is Smart.” Wall Street Journal, 2 Jul. 2015