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Google, Samsung Now Rumored to be Working on Smart Watches

iwatch2[1]2013 is still less than 3 months old but I think it’s safe to say that this is the year of the smart watch. The rumors about Apple’s iWatch continue to circulate and now they’ve been joined by new ones.

The Financial Times is reporting today that Google is working on a smart watch:

Now, Silicon Valley’s rumour mill suggests that Google, too, has such a device in the works.

While Glass is being created in its X Lab, home to experimental “moonshot” projects such as the self-driving car, Google’s smart watch is being developed by its Android unit, according to a person briefed on the project, to act as an extension to the smartphones using that operating system.

But that’s not all. Earlier this week Bloomberg quoted a Samsung VP as saying that the Korean gadget maker had a smart watch under development: “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.”

Reuters also independently reported that Samsung was working on a smart watch, though they didn’t have a source that was quite so visible:

Samsung Electronics Co is developing a wearable digital device similar to a wristwatch, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, joining rival Apple Inc in creating new products as growth of smartphone sales slows.

There’s not much in the way of solid info on any of the 3 smart watches rumored to be under development, so normally I would disbelieve the rumors and wait for proof. But in this case I am going to take the Samsung statement as a barometer of the market.

These 3 watches very likely exist.

The Samsung watch reportedly has nothing to do with the Google watch, and that means there are at least 3 smart watches under development (Apple, Google, Samsung). And as one commenter pointed out, there’s also a number of existing smart watches already on the market. Sony has one, and then there is the Pebble smart watch as well as others.

How long do you want to bet it will be before Sony, Amazon, and other tech companies start dropping hints about their projects?

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Ravi March 21, 2013 um 11:16 pm

Um, Sony already has a smart watch (called the Sony SmartWatch, of course). I’m wearing one right now. It is an interesting, frustrating little gadget. The best description I have is that it’s the iPaq in the GSM/GPRS sleeve all over again.

Nate Hoffelder March 21, 2013 um 11:23 pm

I bet you can tell i wasn’t paying attention to that market niche. Thank you for the correction.

Ravi March 22, 2013 um 12:56 am

I wasn’t either until the band on my Casio calculator watch broke. It was hard to replace, so I looked at alternatives and now I have a SmartWatch.

Igor Borski March 22, 2013 um 5:17 am

LOL they’re copying like crazy 🙂

I dream of retinal laser projecting device say 4K res and portable computing module.
BCI won’t hurt too 😉 So I’ll think about the soccer game it will just pop into view.
That a smart UI for you, not a phone or watch for your clunky smartphone.

Ben March 22, 2013 um 8:15 am

Who really thinks there is a booming market for smart watches??? With a limit screen size and space for processing power, it has little room for improvement. I really hope Apple rumor is just to psych Samsung into doing dumb things.

fjtorres March 22, 2013 um 8:42 am

The vision for the first-gen SmartWatches, the Microsoft SPOT watches, was that a watch display was a useful place for Push-based content. In today’s environment that would be text messages, tweets, RSS alerts, and other notifications. Think of your typical android launcher widgets. Audio streaming would likely be a killer app on a good Smartwatch.

In effect, a smartwatch would hold a "stack" of those widgets you could cycle through at a moment’s notice or that would cycle automatically. So that image with "slide to unlock" is wrong. The really smart smartwatch is always unlocked since mostly it just displays info streams.
The SPOT watches died because the underlying tech wasn’t ready; the watches were big and clunky, the data trickled in via FM datacasting, there weren’t many data streams worth the investment beyond stock market "ticker tapes", weather, and news headlines.
Today the hardware is ready, 3G and WiFi hotspots offer thicker pipes, and twitter, Facebook, RSS, and streaming music are all compelling datastreams for an always-on device.
Biggest limitation is going to be battery life. 24 hour non-stop battery life is the minimum and one week highly desirable.
eInk might be a good match for the low end of this market.

Ben March 22, 2013 um 10:30 pm

All good points FJ, except a wrist watch is STILL limited by size. How long do you want the battery to last with all the streaming and constant connection to internet? I think there are good reasons why consumer watches hasn’t change very much…just take a look at the history of watches…talk about a lack of innovation!

I would not get a smart watch even if Apple makes one and I’m a huge Apple fanboi! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I own three decent watches and I rarely put them on anymore. iPhone is plenty to fetch me all the info I need on a daily basis, be it time or anything else.

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