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Google, Intel team with TAG Heuer on luxury Android Wear smartwatch to counter Apple Watch

At today's inauguration of the Baselworld 2015 watch and jewelry expo in Switzerland, watchmaker TAG Heuer announced a partnership with Google and Intel on a new luxury smartwatch, due to launch sometime before the end of 2015.




Until then, prices and functions are being kept secret, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Google, however, will be supplying the Android Wear platform and helping with software development. Intel will provide a system-on-chip to power the device.

Jean-Claude Biver —the head of watches at TAG Heuer's parent company, LVMH —said that this was his "biggest announcement ever" in 40 years of working in the industry. He also claimed that the product would be the "greatest connected watch," and like any good model a "marriage of beauty and utility."

The announcement appears to be a direct response to the Apple Watch, the final form of which was revealed earlier this month. TAG Heuer may specifically be trying to compete against the steel and/or Edition models of the Watch, which are targeted at richer customers willing to spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on a fashion item.

Steel Apple Watches can cost as much as $1,099, while Edition pieces start at $10,000 and scale up to $17,000. TAG Heuer's mechanical watches typically occupy a middleground, though some rare models can exceed Edition prices.

Most Android Wear devices are priced at $300 or less, which could make the TAG Heuer entry one of the first true luxury Wear products. It remains to be seen how well the Apple Watch will be able to compete, since even the cheapest Sport Watches begin at $349.