March 19, 2013
Samsung VP Announces Plans To Build Smartwatch
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Hot on the heels of releasing a new flagship smartphone, one Samsung VP is saying the company now plans to release a smartwatch.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Lee Young Hee claimed his company has been working hard to bring this device to market.
As a fierce competitor of Apple, a Samsung smartwatch isn´t a surprising move. Rumors about an Apple-branded smartwatch have been flying around for several months. Not long after these rumors began to reach full stride, screenshots emerged of an alleged wearable device from Korea´s Samsung.
“We´ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” said Hee, the vice president of Samsung´s mobile division in an interview with Bloomberg. “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.”
The interview is short of any other details, except for the claim that Samsung is actually planning to bring a watch to market. Hee had no word about release date, price, availability, etc.
Yet, even with these scant details, we now have more solid evidence about Samsung´s watch than we do Apple´s.
Talk of what´s been dubbed the “iWatch” began to emerge again last December when Chinese reports claimed Intel would power such a device.
Two months later, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal filled out the story even more, saying this wearable device could be made of curved glass and be built in Foxconn plants, Apple´s go-to manufacturing partner to build their Macs and line of iDevices.
Though Hee declined to give the name of this watch, some Samsung fans already know it as the Samsung Galaxy Altius. Not long after the dual reports of Apple´s watch plans were released, screenshots were leaked of what many believe to be the Samsung smartwatch.
According to this set of leaked images, the Samsung smartwatch could be capable of fetching email, displaying maps and playing music. These leaked images also suggest the smartwatch could work with a cellular connection.
The Bloomberg piece suggests Apple and Samsung are now in a race to pair their smartphone offerings with a small and wearable device capable of performing some of the basic tasks of a phone. Each round of rumors about these devices describe a device which can place calls, display text messages, offer previews of emails, give GPS coordinates, and play music. Marshal Cohen, an analyst with the NPD group in New York told Bloomberg that this is simply the new direction smartphone makers are taking.
“The race is on to redesign the mobile phone into something that you wear,” said Cohen. “We´re going to see formidable competition coming from many different directions -- from device makers, accessory makers, even fashion designers.”
Samsung and Apple have been competing in the smartphone war since the iPhone first debuted in 2007. Yet, this competition turned into a rivalry as the two have emerged as the world´s largest smartphone makers. These watches are seen as another device these companies can offer to keep their customers inside their own, proprietary ecosystems, complete with computers, smartphones, tablets and even televisions.
Though Samsung is the first of the two to admit their plans to build and release a smartwatch, many are expecting this to be an Apple-dominated market, and one which Samsung may have to work hard to take the lead.
At this point, however, it´s still just as likely that Apple never releases the fabled “iWatch.” leaving Samsung and other Android partners to fight this battle amongst themselves.