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Casio G-Shock GB 6900: image courtesy of
Casio G-Shock GB 6900: image courtesy of

Casio to release new smart-watch

Smart-watch technology is about to go mainstream following the announcement by Casio it will expand the release of its new Bluetooth compatible Casio G-Shock.
The new GB 6900 model has received solid support following its test release in Japan in December and will soon be launched in the US.

There has been a raft of smart-watches launched onto the market this year, notably Pebble, I’m Watch and Cookoo, including rumours that Apple was considering an iWatch, however Casio’s GB 6900 is the first release from a large, recognised watch brand, indicating that the groundswell of interest in smart-watch technology may become more than a passing fad.

Like other smart-watch designs the GB 6900 pairs with the wearer’s smart-phone and alerts them to incoming calls, text messages and emails. If the wearer travels, the technology also enables the watch to automatically update itself to the relevant local time.

The advantage the GB 6900 has over many of its counterparts is its battery life. While many smart-watches require charging at a similar rate to an average smart phone, according to Casio, the GB 6900 works on low energy Bluetooth 4.0, which enables the watch to run for two years before the battery needs to be changed.

Australia and New Zealand
The only issue for local retailers is when the watch will be available in Australia and New Zealand. According to Casio Timepiece Divisional Manager Sean Murphy, distributing smart watches is not as simple as ‘traditional’ watches. 

Murphy advises that there is currently no phone on the Australian market capable of pairing with GB 6900 and hence an Australian release date has not been set. However, the expected announcement tomorrow of the new Apple iPhone5 might overcome the issue. 

“Apple is quite tight with anything it does, but hopefully the iPhone5 will have the Bluetooth 4.0 technology, which would allow us to introduce G-Shock GB 6900 into this market place,” Murphy said. “This watch has been well received in Japan, there is a phone there that allows them to receive this watch into the market.”

Another helpful addition to the phone is a “find me” button, which can help the wearer locate their phone, while it also alerts you whenever you have left your phone behind and are moving out of radius of it.

Perhaps most impressive though is that Casio has chosen to present the new model in one of its most popular styles (G-Shock), with most other smart watches currently on the market focussing more on a tablet style presentation.

Murphy said embracing the new technology in watches was a logical move for the brand given its desire to maintain its youthful culture which is seeing it achieve phenomenal growth.

“Casio has evolved itself away from basic little digital watches,” Murphy said. “We are now the best selling brand in Australia at the moment purely from the numbers from the major players in the market. As a brand we were up more than 20 per cent last year and we are already up 20 per cent this year, which can be attributed to G-Shock especially.

“The association with music videos and that youth culture is a way of getting that youth into the brand,” Murphy continued. “We are a young brand, we don’t claim to be a Swiss brand with hundreds of years of heritage, we using technology to forge its own destiny in the marketplace.”

In other news, G-Shock celebrates its 30th Anniversary next year and it is hoped the Bluetooth technology will be available in the Australian market in time for the G-Shock GB 6900 to be released in time to coincide with that milestone.

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