Samsung is developing a smart wristwatch, says Bloomberg, as Asia’s biggest technology company races against Apple to create a new industry of wearable devices that perform similar tasks as smartphones.
Samsung’s disclosure comes after people familiar with Apple’s plans said last month the U.S. company has about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform similar functions to the iPhone and iPad. The global watch industry will generate more than $60 billion in sales this year, and the first companies to sell devices that multitask could lock customers into their platform, boosting sales of phones, tablets and TVs.
“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.”
Lee had no comment on what features the watch may have, how much it would cost and when it would go on sale. The Suwon, South Korea-based company already plans to release three high- end smartphones this year — including the Galaxy S4 unveiled last week and one using the Tizen operating system — as it competes with Apple for customers in a slowing global market.
Where Apple and Samsung go, Google may not be far behind. Smartphone companions like the $150 Pebble watch connect to your smartphone through Bluetooth. A complete cellphone on a wrist would be trickier, especially in the battery department.
The NanoWatch runs embedded Linux, and features a 1.54 inch Touch screen display, 256 Mb ROM, a 4 GB internal microSD card, and a SIM card slot. The NanoSmart version can be used as a stand alone cellphone or link to an Android phone in your pocket via Bluetooth.
The device can be worn as a watch, but you could also hang it on your neck, or clip it on your shirt. You can make/answer phone calls, or pair it to your Android smartphone to sync emails and contacts, and make / received phone calls.
The product is available now, and should sell for $99 retail. You can find more information on WiMe NanoWatch page.
The Neptune Pine wristwatch phone has a SIM card and supports GSM and HSPA networks. It is supposed to get up to 5 hours of talk time or 120 hours of standby time from an 800mAh battery and runs on the Android-based operating system with a 2.5 inch display. It’s expected to sell for about $335 if and when it goes on sale in the third quarter of 2013.
By comparison the Pebble E-Paper Watch can communicate with Android and iOS apps using Bluetooth, but doesn’t have its own SIM card and can’t make or receive phone calls independently. It will communicate with an Android or iOS device using Bluetooth 2.1 but includes support for Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy) for a later update.
The Sony Ericsson LiveView ($125), is a wearable device that connects to a variety of Android phones and can display Twitter feeds, RSS feeds, SMS, and control the phone media player, among other things.
You can connect your smartphone to your SmartWatch and then access all your music on your phone. Play, skip, fast forward. Use Bluetooth to connect to your headphones. You can’t place calls, though. You need a SIM card for that.