Casio will finally enter the smartwatch game early next year

You could argue that Casio has been making "smart" watches long before Apple and Google popularize the term. But roughly four decades after it introduced the digital watch, Casio Computer Company of Japan announced it will make a modern-day smartwatch to compete with the aforementioned companies, reports The Wall Street Journal.

According to Casio CEO Kazuhiro Kashio, the watch will target men with interests in outdoor sports and leisure activities. Such an aim will dictate the design and appearance of the watch, which Kashio says will be comfortable and stylish.

Most of all, Kashio says, the watch will do away with unpopular features that Casio incorporated in its previous devices, such as a heart rate monitor and a schedule manager. Instead, the watch will put telling time at the top of the list, with all other features secondary. "At times we just showed off with quirky features and then pulled those products when they didn't sell well," Kashio says. "We are trying to bring our smartwatch to a level of watch perfection: a device that won't break easily, is simply to put on, and feels good to wear."

Even though Kashio says the smartwatch would be affordable and practical, the $400 price tag doesn't exactly scream "affordability." That price puts it directly in competition with the Apple Watch, as well as the upper echelon of Android Wear smartwatches, so it will be interesting to see what Casio will bring to the table with a $400 smartwatch.

The Casio smartwatch will be released in March 2016, though by that time, the company will likely hope that its name will carry some weight. Casio will enter a market that eerily mirrors the smartphone market in that it's dominated by Google and Apple. Even Pebble, which is arguably the pioneer of the current smartwatch market, will provide stiff competition.

What could set Casio apart from the others, however, is its experience with regular watches. With that experience, it could bring wrist-friendly design to the table, though it's disappointing to learn of the smartwatch's target audience. According to Kashio, it will first launch in Japan and the United States, with no announced plans of further international availability.