Samsung has confirmed rumors that it is developing a smartwatch, stating “We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long … and are working very hard to get ready for it.” Interestingly, this confirmation comes from the executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, Lee Young Hee, which leads us to assume that the upcoming Samsung smartwatch will be tightly integrated into their future smartphone offerings. Although Lee provided no time frame for release of a Samsung branded smartwatch, both his statement and the swirling rumors of an Apple iWatch on the horizon strongly suggest that an official announcement by Samsung may be imminent.
Samsung’s Lee chose not to comment on the specs or feature set of the smartwatch in development. However, since Samsung controls its own chip and display production, it is reasonable to assume that it might reserve its cutting edge technology exclusively for its own products before offering such components to a competitor such as Apple. This may be one more reason why Apple has been trying to ween itself off of Samsung chips for some time now.
Samsung is no stranger to the smartwatch market and introduced the Samsung S9110 Watchphone smartwatch to consumers in 2009. Although it boasted the world’s thinnest touchscreen, an MP3 player, speakerphone, voice recognition, and synched with Microsoft Outlook, the S9110 was not a commercial success. What will Samsung do differently this time around to increase its chances of launching a blockbuster product? We can’t wait to find out. However, the market seems to have significantly changed this time around, with significant internet buzz and record breaking crowd sourced funding projects fueling smartwatch demand. Now just may be the time to release something creative into the smartwatch market and hope for a frenzy.
Apple, too, has been rumored to be developing a smartwatch of its own. In typical tight-lipped fashion, Apple executives have declined to comment on the potential of an iWatch offering. However, Apple is reported to have more than 100 product designers working on its smartwatch project, which is said to incorporate curved glass and biosensors. In addition, the recent release of an innovative Apple “slap bracelet” smartwatch patent further bolsters speculation of a forthcoming iWatch.
With de minimus bits of information trickling out from behind the corporate veils, it is difficult to gauge the state of smartwatch development from the power players who have the ability and the experience to ignite this niche. However, one thing is for sure … the market is ready and waiting to be swept off its feet by something spectacular. The only question that remains is not if, but who will be first to market with something truly special.