Samsung Electronics said this week it would showcase its first smart wrist-watch at a special event in early September. The concept device will be aimed primarily at technology enthusiasts and trend-setters, which suggests that its initial availability will be pretty limited. At present it is unclear which functions will Samsung’s smartwatch support, but what is clear is that it will be a companion device for the company's smartphones.
“We will be introducing a new wearable concept device called Galaxy Gear at our own event in Berlin on September 4. The Gear will not have a flexible display. The new device will enhance and enrich the current smart mobile experience in many ways. It will lead a new trend in smart mobile communications. We are confident that the Gear will add meaningful momentum to the mobile industry,” said Lee Young-hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, in an interview with The Korea Times.
While Samsung Galaxy Gear is expected to be very conceptual thing that may not show the benefits of wearable computing devices in all of their glory, the company already has much more advanced versions in its roadmap. At present, though, the schedule of smart watch releases (every year, every 1.5 years) is not clear.
Samsung did not reveal particular details regarding Galaxy Gear. Several things about the smartwatch is clear: it will be a companion for Google Android-based Galaxy-series smartphones and tablets; it will not use flexible glass and it will run Android.
Smart watches are currently developed by a bunch of companies, including Apple, Google, LG Electronics, Microsoft Corp. and others. It is more than likely that at least several smart watch models will be released to market in the next twelve months. What is currently unclear is what functions should smart watches support and how autonomous they should be.
Interactive wrist-watches are supposed to be companions for smartphones and media tablets. It is logical to expect smart watch to feature media player controls, information updates, calendar, compass, reminders, NFC payment system and other functions that do not require a lot of screen real-estate. A lot of users will also appreciate custom apps for such devices.
In addition to experimental devices designed by the team of Justin Rattner, Intel recently formed a new unit called “new devices group”, which is headed by Mike Bell and which will address the markets that are yet to emerge with new products. After being unable to respond to demand for smartphone and tablet application processors, Intel will now try to create chips for devices that do not exist yet.