Apparently for Swatch, telling the time is no longer enough.
The watchmaker plans to add fitness tracking features to its Swatch Touch digital watch line in 2015, The Wall Street Journal reports. Swatch didn't get into specifics, but said it would include the "usual features," which presumably means an accelerometer for counting steps, at the very least.
Swatch's current Touch watches sell for $140, which is in the same price ballpark as most other fitness bands. Compared to luxury watchmakers, Swatch faces a greater threat from these fitness devices, as 30 percent of the company's sales come from low-end to mid-range models, the Journal notes.
Still, merely producing a fitness tracker is no guarantee of success, especially now that the market is flooding with me-too devices. In recent months, tech vendors including Acer, Sony, Toshiba and LG have all announced their own fitness bands. They'll be taking on more-established firms such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit and Striiv, and from countless smaller startups.
Meanwhile, surveys show that while fitness band shipments are growing, a significant number of users are abandoning their devices in the long run. The market won't be sustainable for all these newcomers if they can't figure out how to keep people hooked. All of which is to say that Swatch will need more than just time-telling chops if it wants to launch a competitive fitness device in 2015.