Earlier this month we told you about speculation surrounding the iWatch following a “smart watch” patent filing by Apple. Today the race to bring this wearable technology to market is heating up even further with news that Samsung and Google are also developing high tech watches.
When Apple filed their patent, we got an idea of what the smart watch concept might look like. With neither a tourbillon nor a computer at its heart, the “smart watch” instead acts as a portal to the computing and mobile operating system (clock included) of a phone. The circuit board and touch-screen display on the watch communicate with the wearer’s phone, providing a secondary access point while the phone stays in the pocket or bag. That means the smart watch wearer could do everything from controlling their music to taking calls.
While Apple’s iWatch will incorporate this technology into a slap-on metal strap, the Google patent filing (pictured above) indicates their product will have a more traditional look. Described as a “smart-watch including flip up display”, the Google product will feature a tactile user interface (touch screen) on a base set on a classic wristband. The flip-up “dial”, which will be partially transparent, will control the information displayed on the base, including phone functions, GPS, and a camera.
Next up is Samsung. While we’ve yet to see a patent filing from the South Korean tech giant, Lee Young Hee, the executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, told Bloomberg; “We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long. 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.” Although Lee did not advise what features their “smart watch” would feature, leaked screenshots of a Samsung product titled the “GALAXY ALtius” show an LCD display for a touchscreen portal-type device.
Although there has been no word on when these products will hit the market, the smart watch race comes amid increased demand for wearable computing, as evidenced by early adoption of Google Glasses. With annual sales in the luxury watch industry pegged at around $60 billion, competition for a stake in the market will undoubtedly continue to heat up.