TOKYO — Clunky? Perhaps. Geeky? Absolutely. But for three decades Casio Computer’s G-Shock line of digital watches has dominated a small, yet lucrative, market.
Tech giants like Samsung are developing high-tech watches, but Casio’s chief, Kazuo Kashio, said, “We’re prepared.” More Tech Coverage News from the technology industry, including start-ups, the Internet, enterprise and gadgets.
The geeky-watch niche is now drawing interest from some of the biggest names in technology. Apple trademarked “iWatch” in several countries earlier this year, which has fueled intense speculation that it is working on a wristwatch that would link with a smartphone. Samsung Electronics is expected to unveil a watch in early September that can make phone calls, play video games and send e-mails.
Last month, Sony revamped its Smartwatch, which communicates with smartphones and lets users play games or check Facebook by tapping their wrists. And a flurry of start-ups, like Pebble, are coming out with timepieces that claim to redefine what goes on the wrist.
“Suddenly, everyone’s discovered the wrist,” Kazuo Kashio, Casio’s 84-year-old chief executive, said in an interview at the company’s Tokyo headquarters. “We’ve known for a long time it’s prime real estate. We’re prepared.”
The spike in interest in wearable computing devices is shaking up the digital watch industry, catapulting a sleepy business to the cutting edge of personal technology. In the process, established digital watchmakers like Casio are finding that they must contend with new competitors.