Samsung Joins the Smart Watch Craze

by Matt Klassen on March 21, 2013

It’s not unlike Apple to remain silent about upcoming product innovation and advancement, leaving the media to generate hype about the company’s next great products. In fact, it’s the reason we never really know what Apple is up to until the company throw’s its grand unveiling, finally taking the wraps off the next thing we all think we need but just never knew it before.

Take the rumours surrounding the smart watch or iWatch craze; speculation that has many convinced that Apple is quietly creating a wrist-mounted iOS running mobile device, with others sure that Apple will watch this tech fad come and go as many have before it, holding out for that one home-run hit that will once again ignite the frenzied passions of the company’s rabid user base.

But while the world is left guessing about Apple’s next big thing, mobile rival Samsung has built its Galaxy mobile empire by navigating almost the completely opposite tack, and the Korean company announced earlier this week that it is indeed working on a smart watch project…in fact its been working on it for years.

Wearable wrist-mounted technology is nothing new for Samsung, the company having shipped several such devices in the past, including the S9110, a smartphone shaped like watch back in 2009, and the first-ever watch phone, the SPH-WP10, back in 1999. But while the genre has existed for well over a decade, it looks like the time is right for companies to really make a splash in this new market, and so it’s no surprise that mobile leaders Samsung and Apple will fight it out for the first slices of the market pie.

“We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, said during an interview in Seoul. “We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them,” Hee adding that the race here between Apple and Samsung is, “who will first commercialize it so consumers can use it meaningfully.”

While Hee remained mum on any product details, possible release dates, or anything that might be considered pertinent and helpful information, he reiterated the point that his company has been developing a mobile watch product for ‘so long,’ evidenced by the list of patents the company holds in the realm of wearable technology.

There’s no question that companies like Samsung and Apple are seeking out new revenue streams, given the fact that here in North America smartphones have almost reached their saturation point, and rethinking the smartphone as something you wear may in fact be the next great mobile market, potentially attracting attention from non-traditional tech partners like the fashion industry.

So where does this leave us? Samsung’s confirmation that it is working on a smart watch comes on the heels of persistent rumours that Apple has its own iWatch project well underway, perhaps even close enough to be released later this year. The new genre will likely offer the basic features of a smartphone initially—call services, texting, and GPS– in addition to serving as a basic health and fitness platform as well—pedometer, heart rate monitor, calorie counter—making it an attractive device for some, but nothing more than a niche consumer gadget for most…that is until we forget how we ever lived without it.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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