Speculation, rumours and tech-entrenched chatter: recent leaks of Samsung’s possible smart watch patents have triggered gadget gossip on a scale last seen in late 2009 when talk of the iPad first surfaced.
But while Apple stormed the tablet race, the only evidence to suggest it’s making any ground in the wearable-tech race is the fact they’ve registered a trademark for the iWatch in Japan in June. In fact if this month’s rumour mill is anything to go by, Samsung may just clinch the win.
Granted, Sony Smart Watches, Pebble, I’m Watch and myriad sports watches have already hit the market… But with sales of only 330,000 worldwide in 2012 none have really made a big impact. And as Samsung have made serious headway in the mobile, tablet and TV markets in the past two years, they’re possibly the safest bet on who will take smart watches to the next level, too.
Official revelations are suspected to be announced at the IFA 2013 tech mecca in Berlin on September 4, but rumours first began in March when Samsung’s executive vice president Lee Young Hee revealed to Bloomberg that Samsung have “been preparing the watch product for so long.”
Developments then occurred in June when Samsung applied for U.S trademark for the Samsung Galaxy Gear, then again in late July when Indian logistics firm Zauba listed a SM-VL700WATCH on a shipment order from South Korea to Samsung’s Bangalore office. Listed with the description of “R&D purposes” its value was marked as 24,442 Indian rupees which – thanks to Revision3’s Rumour Roundup – is approximately $410, although in mass production this price tag is likely to decrease somewhat.
Let’s hope so. If these speculative designs are anything to go by, it looks rather desirable indeed. Based on vague patent sketches revealed on Korean tech portal Moveplayer, money saving website Vouchercodespro commissioned a ‘patent and trademark insider’ to explore what the Samsung smart watch will look like.
With its flexible OLED gorilla glass screen that curves around the wrist, and the potential to personalise it with coloured strap, these concept images are certainly striking. What’s more, they answer the one concern that’s been mooted about smart watches all along… Can a potentially cumbersome smart watch design look good on the wrists of both male and female gadget freaks?
The Philippine Star states that the U.S trademark application described the device to be “capable of providing access to the internet, sending and receiving phone calls, electronic mails and messages and keeping track of personal information”. And if the name Galaxy Gear is anything to go by (also mooted to be called Altius in the earlier Bloomberg report) the Android-based operating system will be based on the existing system used in Samsung’s successful Galaxy Note tablets.
Roll on IFA 2013 to find out how much of the speculation is can truly be verified, but one thing is for sure… Smart watches are about to explode onto the market. Tech analysts Canalys predict a 900 per cent rise in forecasted smart watch shipments in 2014 taking smart watch sales up to 5million units globally. Will Samsung take the market share? Time will tell. Expect plenty more speculation, rumours and tech-entrenched chatter in the meantime…