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What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have?

What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have? Featured Articles

It is almost the middle of 2015, and now that the Apple Watch is here, people are still asking me “when is Casio going to release their smartwatch?” In a sense, much of what Casio already produces are “smartwatches,” and the Japanese company arguably created the segment with a number of interesting watches over the years that do more than just tell the time (starting back in the 1980s during the “quartz revolution”). In 2011, Casio even began producing Bluetooth-connected G-Shock watches that offer simple notifications and music controls along with a small number of other features (which continues in some models produced today). With all that in mind, why is it that a company which should be the obvious front-runner as a traditional watch brand (and electronics company) to making smartwatches, have seemingly nothing in their pipeline to address the question of what Casio’s answer to the smartwatch will be?

What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have? Featured Articles

The high-end Casio G-Shock MT-G costs $1,000, showing that there is market for more luxuriously priced Casio watches

Some might say that Casio is waiting for the smartwatch market to become more established and for more universally adopted operating systems. That may be so, but Japanese electronics companies have at least historically had no fear about experimenting with new products in the market and attempting to discover new technologies that resonate with consumers. Just think about all the weird Seiko, Citizen, and Casio watches over the years that probably should not have been made – but nevertheless were. I’d like to know who was actually using all those Casio “Databank” watches with their primitive electronic address books and that model that came with a basic TV remote whose only useful function it seemed was to annoy large 1980s classroom teachers when they rolled in the TV stand to show a video.

What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have? Featured Articles

Casio and its Japanese colleagues should be heading smartwatch experimentation more than anyone else, and if you think about it, they could be trying to innovate a lot more now, even in regard to their non-connected G-Shock and Pro Trek models. Casio has been putting a lot of effort into improving or refining their core watches and adding some features such as GPS signal control to update the time and date in some models, but why is Casio suddenly so seemingly conservative?

What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have? Featured Articles

The Casio MRG-G1000 GPS Atomic Solar Hybrid is packed with high-tech functions

A look at most of Casio’s new features and technologies over the last decade or so will reveal – as I mentioned earlier – a lot of impressive improvements but rarely “new new” features. These improvements run the gamut of creating more powerful and smaller quartz movements, more durable cases, and features which assist with legibility. One of the more curious areas of R&D at Casio has been the deep focus on offering more and more high-function analog watches.

What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have? Featured Articles

What do I mean? Well, rather than stick to the versatility of a digital screen, so many Casio Pro Trek and G-Shock watches attempt to create in analog form (with hands) what their counterparts so easily did with digital screens. The result is often times a functional success (in that the watches work), albeit something that often involves unnecessary complexity in the operation of the watch or in how the information is displayed. Speaking to many people at Casio over the years, it appears that this focus is primarily based on what Casio deems to be marketability. In effect, Casio has been producing analog watches because they feel that analog watches do better in the market.

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What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have? Featured Articles

This isn’t incorrect, but at the end of the day, the resulting efforts at Casio have produced some very interesting and sometimes strange products whose goals are difficult to understand outside of this context. Casio is a company who produces and sells far more watches in terms of volume that most other watchmakers, so overall marketability and sales success is extremely important when you decide to produce hundreds of thousands or even millions of a watch.

It is possible that Casio has been too focused on following the market rather than helping to create it? This is an argument that can certainly be made in regard to Casio’s apparent lack of really expanding the smartwatch market. In the early 1990s, if you would have taken a guess at the future of Casio watches, it would have not been a stretch to imagine that in 10 or 20 years they would be producing complicated wrist-worn computers that rival the functionality of personal digital assistants (PDAs) or other computing devices. Assuming mobile phones did not deeply cut into the sale of wrist watches, it is perhaps likely that Casio would have been fully incentivized to take their watch product development in that direction.

What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have? Featured Articles

What Casio did do, however, is appeal to the markets that it was doing the best in. Such markets are areas such as watches for military and law enforcement personnel, outdoors enthusiasts, general sports lovers, and urbanites looking for “bullet-proof” timekeepers that require little to no attention. If anything, Casio has succeeded in making an ultra durable timepiece that doesn’t require much attention and almost no upkeep.

Two technologies employed by Casio (and others such as Citizen and Seiko) helped the “set it and forget it” nature of many of their products. These are solar power generation (where available light – sunlight or otherwise – enters the dial and is used to charge the battery, as well as atomic clock radio signal reception. Taking these two technologies together, you have quartz-based watches that do not require battery changes and do not require time adjustments because the time is updated automatically. The more recent focus on creating watches that receive GPS signals to update the time automatically (or manually) is simply an extension of this theme.

What Features Should A Casio Smartwatch Have? Featured Articles

Watches such as those in the G-Shock collection are also famously hard to break. Casio has a well-earned reputation for creating dependable timekeepers, but the question is why they stopped at that? Even though your average digital Casio watch has a slew of features related to telling the time and in some instances sensors such as a compass or barometer, why did Casio not work to integrate additional technologies into their products?

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  • I_G

    Smartwatches are accessories for smartphones now and in the near future so Casio’s safest bet is to use the Android Wear platform to be fully compatible with the 80% of smartphones. I’m not sure that a proprietary platform would be a good idea, I have doubts that Peeble will survive between the Apple and Android world.

  • I want Casio to have their watch pair with your phone (NFC or Bluetooth) just to receive the correct time which the phone already has. No need for power hungry GPS with attendant antenna size issues and not need for atomic radio signals which have limited coverage.
    And they can have an alert on the watch if you phone goes out of range (so you don’t forget or lose your phone).
    Receiving a text might also be OK when driving but that’s about all of the smart watch stuff I’d need. I don’t want Facebook notifications or a heat rate monitor. And I want solar power in a quartz watch so the time is always on and not available for only a “glance”.

  • Grinnie Jax

    1. Dictaphone!!
    2. Metal case, not only plastic. Good leather strap as well. Play with materials – enamel, wood, bronze, brass, etc.

    3. When having a phone in touch – synchronize the time every X periods of time. If no phone around – use GPS antenna.
    4. If its possible – make slightly thicker cases as well. I understand that G-Shock means durability + fuctions, but having some functional line in less bulky cases would be nice as well.
    5. Feel gestures. For instance, draw a circle with your arm in the clockwise direction: starts function X, … anti-clockwise – function Y, etc.
    6. Possibility to produce a special ultrasound to get rid from moscitos, cockroaches, birds or maybe human lol
    7. SOS-button like on Breitling Emergency.
    8. Solar panel + Kinetic charging.
    9. Possibility to remote control the phone via bluetooth – for instance control the shutter of the camera.
    10. Fingerprint or retina sensor.

  • I_G

    MarkCarson  ‘And I want solar power in a quartz watch so the time is always on and not available for only a “glance”.’ This would work on Hawaii but not in Scotland 😀

  • I_G MarkCarson How about the light from a burning peat bog?

  • iamcalledryan

    Yeah I just think some basic data feeds from the phone. Perhaps some cop/military add ons, but for me I have long grown out of Casios and have always found their interface to be archaic.

  • I don’t know why they would need to fix something that’s not broken. I need zero extra functionality in any of my Casio watches, and I’d prefer it stays that way.
    Of course, I’m a luddite for not wanting my watch to tell me that my phone has an email, that I took 15 steps getting from the couch to the shitter, and other completely useless pieces of information, so I’m sure Casio will fuck up a watch line soon enough to attach the Apple Watch market that only addresses non-watch people anyway.

  • iamcalledryan

    MarkCarson I_G Casio are developing a porridge-powered watch.

  • Grinnie Jax

    iamcalledryan MarkCarson I_G Well, its better than a single-malt powered one

  • Jorge Rodriguez

    Operate without the need of a damn phone!

  • DanW94

    Ariel, You’re asking why hasn’t Casio “officially” thrown their hat into the smartwatch ring. I think you partially answered your own question when you wrote “just  think about all the weird Seiko, Citizen, and Casio watches over the years that probably should not have been made – but nevertheless were”. Perhaps they’re paying attention to history or maybe they see no need to declare that Casio has a smartwatch as a kneejerk response to the Apple watch. They’ve carved out a healthy niche with their G-Shock which has proved to be a rugged. reliable, attractive (matter of opinion on that one) watch with some innovative features. 
    Or maybe I’m wrong and we’ll see a Casio smartwatch in the near future.
     (All this Casio talk has made me nostalgic for that calculator function from the 80’s. Note to self check E-bay later!)

  • Liz Guy

    I agree with Jorge, the watch is a watch. Keep the multi function capabilities to a minimum. Time zones, GPS location and tracking, and even dive depth make sense. Adding a phone to a watch is just one more way for us to keep working. I don’t think it is a necessary function.

  • Lokifish Marz

    I’d like to see;

    1- Standalone capability (phone is never required to activate or use it)
    2- 50-100m water resistance so you can swim/snorkel/shallow dive with it

    3- A UI that doesn’t require you stare at it to perform even basic functions

    4- Clean, clear , concise notifications and notification counters for when you do pair it to a phone

    5- Work week battery life

    6- Piezo speaker and mic would be nice

    7- Looks like a watch you would want to wear

    In short, a watch that’s smart not a mini tablet (almost every smartwatch out there) on a strap.

  • Shawnnny

    Yes, this is what I want. Plus a vibrator to let me know of a call or text or if my phone is out of range. I’d like to have a heart rate monitor though, but nothing else.

  • Hacker4748

    I am just here to profess my love for the Oceanus range. That is all.

  • Hacker4748

    Also, what I would love to see in a Casio watch – a GPS feature where I am able to save my current position (my car in a large parking lot / my chair on a beach / that square we should all return to in two hours) and then recall it later and guide me using, say, the second hand.

  • angusbooker

    I say they have pretty well solved the Smart Watch “needs” of the out-door-dude. Nothing on an Apple Watch gives me the power and capability of my Protrek:

    * Tough as hell
    * Barometer to tell me when a change is coming
    * Compass to quickly track direction
    * Sun up / Sun Down
    * Water resistant – Can do some real sport wearing it.
    * Altimeter to give some idea of where I am on the hill
    * Timer for working out.

    Heart Rate / Pedometer might be interesting, a torch like LED for quick night time illumination might be good, but otherwise they have pretty well nailed my “smart watch” needs… Oh and did i mention, a battery that doesn’t need plug-in charging or even replacement.. A better solution to allow after market bands would be my only request… .

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix.. 🙂
    Keep up the good work Casio..

  • Hugo Alberto Heffling

    Y es muy cierto !!!!

  • thornwood36

    Too be honest, i would look a bit of a dick with this on

  • I wish Casio would try to clean up the look of at some of their offerings. The “Tech” look (robot face, etc.) is fine for some references but a cleaner dial and hands and a case without “Large Screw” features might make for a watch you would not be ashamed to wear in a business meeting or out to dinner. Notice how the high end Swiss brands are often good at making additional features integrated into the face of a watch vice Casio’s penchant for making the dial an asymmetric jumble of doo-dahs which all try to compete for your visual attention.
    And how no matter what features Casio adds, make it so a mere mortal without the instruction manual can set and operate the danged thing.

  • DG Cayse

    thornwood36 I know what you mean.

    I like them…but, they are a bit of “geek over-kill.”

  • DG Cayse

    Some things I’d like to see:
    1. Works by itself – doesn’t need to be connected…to ANYTHING.
    2. 300m WR. I want it tighter than a ducks butt. Impervious to liquids, sand, grit and bad intentions.
    3. A clear read out that can be grokked fast and easy.

    4. Easy to use. No multi-poking about for unnecessary/unneeded options. Delete what I do not need or use.

    5. Battery life longer than 120 hrs and a micro-USB charging plug.

    6. Good illumination when required.

    7. Good design that doesn’t frighten children and/or give Geeks a boner.
    8. Made from carbon fiber or some other space-age polymer that is light as a feather and stronger than my breath on a bad morning.
    9. Available in a choice of colo(u)rs – but NOT camouflage.
    10. A comfortable band made of something that sweat, sunlight and harsh chemicals will not cause to fall apart. will not cause to fall apart. 
    11. Must make me look…”smashing.”
    12. Cheap – under US$450.00. (that’s about the “under-the-wife-radar” level)

    Cut out the unused bells, whistles, rings and silly stuff. A basic Sat-link time adjust, timer, and the type of GPS , like mentioned, that is actually easy to use and useful.
    Do this and Casio will continue to be the top winner.

    Oh, and an Open-source program ability would give some of the “creative” people some real juice. They would buy multiple units just to practice with…heh heh heh.

  • 5803822

    Why not two methods of charging in the same product – ie Solar and rotor-to give more capability options?

  • henryus

    Meh, I’d like to see this: A digital mechanical diver watch.
    Functions just like a mechanical dive watch, especially the bezel part.
    But everything else is digital of some sort.
    Nothing complex.
    It could be as simple as digital face simulating the three hands, plus mechanical bezel, plus water resistance of 200m, solar powered.
    I cannot over emphasize the inclusion of mechanical bezel or at least something that I can grab and turn.
    Dead simple, accurate, tough.
    Leave all the buttons home.

  • henryus

    How about this?
    Hermetically seal the entire watch.
    All controls are via remote app (phone, etc).
    Confirm connection to watch like bluetooth.
    Solar powered.

  • dannynorato

    aBlogtoWatch Casio_USA GPS for outdoors!

  • rishio

    I just think Casio is done. It’s like a walkman versus the iPod. There’s no chance for them to compete with Apple and Google for the space on your wrist for anyone but a small niche. If they wanted to compete, they needed to be ahead of Apple, not behind!

  • spiceballs

    In my humble opinion whatever Citizen, Seiko & Casio are currently doing they seem to be getting it right.  They are able to shoehorn their circuit boards, remote connectors, power packs, readout devices (watch faces) and operational controls into quite amazingly small spaces at the same time producing remarkably accurate timekeepers ++ that effectively need no recharge other than the wearing of the devices.  To expand further I believe that they are stuck with the same conundrum that everyone else has – power.  Solve this cleanly and elegantly, and you will solve a major world issue.

    • Simon Dowsett

      Uhm… Casio still use segmented displays! Modern processors are down to 14 nano-meter architecture. An entire mobile phone watch with colour LCD display is the same size as an antiquated G-shock! Ok, its not as rugged, but it is a similar price!

  • Jef_in

    A place for everything and everything in it’s place,  and there is a time for dreaming, doing and selling.  As of the moment, the blue ocean of a tiny wearable with serious concern for power source has not yet pushed the Apple iWatch to the main stream “need and want” of man.  Unlike the phone,  which replaced the ‘tied’ technology to meet the basic human need of interaction, the watch has not yet met such a basic need.  When the watch fulfills this need, any vendor selling that product would be on many persons wrist.
    As a wearable, the watch, be it Apple, Casio, Tissot, Pebble, Andriod Moto or IWC should replace a current need that shackles mobility,
    Several items comes to mind,  aside from being just an extension….
    The product can or should be able to replace:
    1.  What you carry with you (in your person)
    –  WALLET for Money
    –  ID’s for IDENTITY
    – Keys – for keyless entry
    If the watch would have these things – you can wave your hand to provide access to a door, entry to METRO RAILs, access your online account (matched with secure biometrics),
    The watch would serve a you data key, physical key, wallet, etc  The CELL PHONE used to be imagined as a replacement for the wallet – like what NTT DOCOMO and several companies where doing,  and now that functionality can be extended to the watch – be it Casio or any other manufacturer.
    2. For HEALTH and SAFETY
    – Like the IWC GPS emergency beacon – can be activated during emergency situations and a receiver will LOCK your location.
    – The watch can be your very own monitoring system – heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen, sweat analytics, breath analytic, air pollution, water contamination
    3. PDA, Calendar, Appointment book
    – no need to carry your phone,  data can be loaded onto the watch every time you charge – there are still several real estates on the watch face, side, bracelet that can be used – can be e-ink, or just color signals with minute vibrations.  LED’s can have several colors depending on the voltage applied to it – so this can be used if needed.  Heck the watch face can be used as a screen and flash the photo of whomever you have an appointment with. 
    4. Adventure tool, outdoor tool
    – like the leatherman watch band.  Add magnifiers, bands can be used as fire starters ( a link from the bands/bracelet).
    Then you can just choose your application by changing the bracelet.
    Cheers.

  • JorweeckKingsu

    I was such a huge fan of G-Shocks but it kinda went super mainstream… and that drove me away. (Yes, I know it’s very hipster of me.)

    What saddens me is that I would’ve jumped at owning one of their BT watches. For as long as It’ll tell me that I have a message or an incoming call, I would be pretty happy with it. The only flaw is that it only works with an Apple iPhone or the Samsung Galaxies. Both of those phones I avoid with me being hipster about them. I thought that soon, they’ll try and update their support for other android phones but it seems like they’ve abandoned their own BT watches.

    and because of this, I’d stick with my Pebble and other mechanical watches.

  • rishio I think a more accurate comparison would be a Hummer vs. a Tesla. There is no need for Casio to beat the Apple watch, it is a different beast altogether. 

    When people stop: going outside, doing extreme sports, going camping, going to the gym, swimming, diving, caring about how durable something is…only then will Casio need to compete with the Apple watch.

  • I_G

    JorweeckKingsu What phone does a hipster have?

  • JorweeckKingsu

    I_G JorweeckKingsu Anything that’s not an Apple or Samsung. ;P

  • gahook

    I honestly think the “smartwatch” is a complete fad. It reminds me of 3D TV a couple of years ago and the severe limitations of the phones. 
    1. You need to be very close to your phones that has the same functions.
    2. Constant need to charge the phone and everyone knows that rechargeable batteries have a shelf life.
    3. Data needed from the phone to function. This doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, but if you are traveling internationally and want to use your watch, you will spend a fortune.
    4. Durability. I don’t see phones like ones from Apple, Samsung and all the other companies being able to deal with what I do to them outdoors. Hiking around volcanoes in Iceland or rainforests of Costa Rica would do a number on them.
    5. Cost. Hundreds of dollars on a watch to do functions that my phone does less than 20 feet away seems like a tremendous waste. 

    You can see by the sales on Apple that the market is crashing. Their sales are down tremendously and if you talk to people who bought them, a lot will tell you that they don’t use it that much anymore.

    Give me a watch that I can beat up outdoors with good functionality and I’ll let my phone stay the phone. I do own a Rangeman that will never let me down.

    • Simon Dowsett

      You can get mobile-phone watches now that are completely self-contained. You can get GPS watches with large colour displays too. Casio Protrek suddenly look like overpriced junk to me.

  • Simon Dowsett

    Casio have gone down hill in recent years. I had digital Casio watches in the 90’s with more functionality than the crap they produce today.

    I want a DIGITAL! watch with:
    The time all on the same line, with the seconds about 2/3 the size of the rest.
    solar-battery. Something that will last at least 10 years with zero maintenance.
    Atomic/GPS accurate.
    24Hr Countdown-timer with 1 second increments and auto-repeat.
    Stopwatch.
    A stainless-steel Watch-strap/Bracelet/Band
    Indigo/electro-luminecent display.
    For it to be more water resistant than I am.
    For it to not look like a kids watch.
    Unbelievably, there isn’t a single watch in their product range that fits this criteria.

    Casio came very close to this in 2003 with the MTG-900DU which I still wear today (albiet with out the buttons that fell off it). However, for some reason they discontinue the decent watches and make multi-coloured crap. Kids today don’t wear watches, they use their phones. Casio no longer produces a watch I want. When my MTG-900 breaks, its not a Casio watch I will be buying. Not unless they make a radical change.

  • Smartwatch from Casio should come with affordable price with some unique features that nobody introduced yet and at least we wish they will do something for the battery life and recharging functions better than others.

  • MikeCrash

    I thought Casio had announced this a long time ago – anyway it is to be released in just a few days http://wsd.casio.com/us/en/

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