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Samsung Also Making a Smartwatch 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the racing-to-wearable-computers dept.
New submitter evansspann sends word that Samsung will be making a smartwatch. Rumors have been swirling for a few months that Apple is working on a 'watch-like' device, but Samsung's CEO was willing to confirm that his company is working on such a product. "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." The companies are now likely racing to be the first to market. Production of such a device will likely be easier for Samsung, since it can produce its own screens and chips. It's also likely to work well with the popular Galaxy Phone lines. However, it will have a tougher time with app distribution than Apple, since it doesn't control Google Play the way Apple controls the App Store. "Apple's critics like to say the company's ideas are obvious, but as some pundits have noted, those very ideas once seemed unimaginable. The smartwatch will be a great test for that theory. It'll be interesting to see if Samsung can strike first in a nascent category and still rival Apple's work."
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Samsung Also Making a Smartwatch

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  • by neminem (561346) <neminemNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:39PM (#43228111) Homepage

    I have a feeling this is going to be downvoted because it happens to be the first post and people will think I'm just posting for that reason, but I totally misread this title as "Samsung also making a sandwich". Maybe someone sexist jerk told them to get in the kitchen, and they took it to heart?

  • I for one... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait to see all old ideas re-patented by adding the language "on a watch".

    • by AaronLS (1804210)

      This. Once got strong armed by a lawyer/volunteer policer office for licensing fees, because he had a patent for putting software on a laptop in a police car. We didn't budge and he never took us to court, given that we knew lots of people that had been doing that prior to his patent. He'd rather keep his billy club to threaten someone else with, then have it invalidated.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Can't wait to see all old ideas re-patented by adding the language "on a watch".

      Wondering if anyone hast been in contact with the Pebble crew. I wouldn't be surprised if they had some patents lined up already.

    • Re:I for one... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Thursday March 21, 2013 @12:31AM (#43231347)

      Can't wait to see all old ideas re-patented by adding the language "on a watch".

      Not likely. In its 2007 ruling in KSR vs Teleflex [wikipedia.org], the Supreme Court made these "combination patents" invalid.

    • My legal defence would be to make the jury watch Battlestar Galactica and claim prior art although I'm sure most of the ideas go back even further.
  • "Smart watches" have been around in one form or another for decades. [wikipedia.org]

    I'm sure both the Samsung and Apple versions will be impressive new steps in the technology, but let's not pretend there's anything fundamentally new about the idea.
    • Re:"Nascent"? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AaronLS (1804210) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:49PM (#43228225)

      Reminds me of a watch a friend had before the days of bluetooth/wifi. To sync your calendar, you held it up to a computer that flashed barcodes on screen which the watch read. Not sure how much practical use he got out of the thing, but was definitely cool to watch.

      • Re:"Nascent"? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wolrahnaes (632574) <seanNO@SPAMseanharlow.info> on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:28PM (#43228709) Homepage Journal

        I had one of those too, the Timex DataLink series. It depended on the CRT flickering to perform a one-way sync of basic PIM data. This of course didn't work on LCDs or systems like NT where the level of control over the display Timex needed was unavailable, so they also had a serial-based gizmo that flashed a LED to do the same job.

        I got mine in 1998 or so and used it as a watch until the plastic body of the watch fell apart some time in 2004. The PIM function hadn't been usable to me for a few years as I'd switched to NT in XP form when it came out, but I'd had a Palm m100 since 2001 so that wasn't really a big deal.

        I'd like a modern take on the smart watch, even after getting the Palm I liked having a basic info set available wherever I went. A good "home screen" could put a lot of useful information at a glance without needing to pull your device out of your pocket. Calendar, incoming messages, caller ID, etc. I could see being very useful. Give it an e-paper display for massive battery life and I'm interested.

      • Timex Datalink

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Datalink [wikipedia.org], altough I woulld have loved to have that one:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_Wrist_PDA [wikipedia.org]

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        That was of course prior to high powered smart phones. Current trend carry a smart phone don't carry a watch or a music player. About the only really useful function I can think of for a smart watch is be able to track your smart phone. Set off an alarm when the phone exceeds a set distance from the watch and then give indication of the distance and direction to the smart phone and of course the ability to ignore that alarm and then track down the smart phone at a latter time. Then you have emergency respo

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          About the only really useful function I can think of for a smart watch is be able to track your smart phone.

          For an outdoors-y type of person, having your GPS, compass, altimeter, emergency light and whistle and basic phone on your wrist where you're less likely to lose it seems like a good idea.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      yeah soon enough samsung will introduce the new idea of a watch with a butchered down android..

      oh shit sony and motorola already did it.. last fucking year!

    • I wish more people understood that we are at the point where any decently educated person can build and design new products that appear to be wildly innovative to the lay public, but are really just the 'Taco Bell' approach. (spinning off countless finished products using variations of 8 basic, well established ingredients)
    • To be honest I like my current watch (which is your average $500 quartz watch - actually a seiko sportura from the early 2000s)

      1) It looks pretty. Prettier than any smartwatch can look (as subjective as looks are, I believe a screen is not pretty)

      2) its battery lasts forever. i change it every 5-8 years. not every 24h (even every week would probably be annoying. i'd want a month!). In fact I changed the battery once so far, after 7 years.

      3) it's waterproof. really waterproof.

      4) it's durable. extremely durab

  • Casio (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WillgasM (1646719) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:44PM (#43228163) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure Casio introduced the smartwatch back in '70s.
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:48PM (#43228211)

    This makes me suspect that Apple deliberately started rumors that they were working on a "smartwatch" simply to trick other companies into wasting effort into actually developing such a useless product.

    • "Apple would like to announce that we are spending all of our money developing graphene nanobot buttplugs which will cure cancer and turn terrorists into gasoline. (snicker)"
    • by gQuigs (913879)

      Yes... they are clearly doing this to hide their work on a iHat.

    • This makes me suspect that Apple deliberately started rumors that they were working on a "smartwatch" simply to trick other companies into wasting effort into actually developing such a useless product.

      You mean, after half a dozen companies already released specs for or working Android-based smart watches?

      You Apple fanbois truly, honestly believe that Apple invented every fucking thing in tech and beyond.
      There were smartphones before Apple "invented" them, there were MP3 players before Apple "invented" them, there was even slide-to-unlock before Apple "invented" it. FTFS!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hondo77 (324058)
        The point isn't that Apple invented this or that. The point is that, as a market leader, others will follow their lead.
        • The others have already decided to make smart watches! Samsung may be late to the party, but most others aren't - if anything, it is Apple that is trailing, together with Samsung.

      • This makes me suspect that Apple deliberately started rumors that they were working on a "smartwatch" simply to trick other companies into wasting effort into actually developing such a useless product.

        You mean, after half a dozen companies already released specs for or working Android-based smart watches?

        You Apple fanbois truly, honestly believe that Apple invented every fucking thing in tech and beyond. There were smartphones before Apple "invented" them, there were MP3 players before Apple "invented" them, there was even slide-to-unlock before Apple "invented" it. FTFS!

        I'm an Apple 'fanboy' and I have been around since the 70s so I remember technology before the iPod and the iPhone, I even remember a time before PCs. About 10-12 years ago the only affordable MP3 players were RAM sticks in the sub 128mb range and, yes, there were smartphones. There were even smartphones with a big touch screen and a UI that had some of the features of the one in the iPhone. My favorite was the Sony Ericsson p800 [ffmobile.com] and p900 [ffmobile.com] series. They came with a stylus but up to a point you could actually

    • by peragrin (659227)

      Ah but this is apple.

      Apple is working on everything conceivable all the time. They only submit it to production once they are sure it works reasonably well, and they can make a decent margin on it without killing existing product lines. Until then it is applesauce.

      the iPhone started as a tablet, that got shrunk because they couldn't do the tablet correctly(power, weight, cpu, etc) There were rumors of I 86 based darwin(the OS X Kernel) at the time OS X was orginially launched.

      Apple hedges lots of bets in

    • by alen (225700)

      only for the basement dwellers

      i'll buy it for the health and biometric tracking features it will probably have

    • I don't know, the already released Motorola MotoActv is something I'd very much like to have.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Samsung claims to have been working on this since before the rumors, which seems reasonable given other similar products like Pebble were already in development too.

      They have to do something with those flexible displays they keep showing off.

    • by node 3 (115640)

      This makes me suspect that Apple deliberately started rumors that they were working on a "smartwatch" simply to trick other companies into wasting effort into actually developing such a useless product.

      I doubt it. Such a plan would backfire for the simple fact that Samsung's R&D on the matter requires an actual product to either copy (iOS) or co-opt (Android).

  • We've all wanted smart watches since Q gave the first one to 007. It has taken a while, but I'm glad my dreams will finally come true.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:50PM (#43228243) Homepage Journal

    if you look carefully, you can see the Samsung founder Stefan Jobes wearing a smartwatch

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YciM_54HzZk [youtube.com]

  • Damn, read that as "sandwich" and thought I was at the onion... maybe I'm hungry.

  • Misread that as "Samsung also making a sandwich". Got real excited too.

  • IIRC, didn't Dick Tracy have a two-way wrist radio back in the 60's? And the "Search" [nee "Probe"] TV series had a tricorder-like device [they called a "scanner"] that could fit on top of an agent's ring.

    So, such things were imagined just not realized. Just getting the prior art out there before the youngster lawyers start claiming so-and-so company invented the concept.

  • There are plenty of phone watches out there... that is nothing new. What I'd like is something like Pebbl or the Sony Ericsson LiveView that interfaces to my phone (Android or iPhone) with some sort of standard interface for developers.

    It can be a two-way interface, relaying video and audio in both directions, as well as have a small touch screen.

    $150 is a bit much... LiveViews are available for $30, as they seem to be closeouts... I would like something like this for less than $100, though.

  • If I am prepared to turn my head a few degrees in any direction I can see the time from pretty much anywhere. Apart from impressing your friends by wearing a Patek Philippe or some such, I don't really understand why people wear watches anymore.
    • So you can impress your friends by showing off your iWatch.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by guantamanera (751262)
      Yes, lots of people still wear watches. smart phones are just smart pocket watches now days. But to check the time a wrist watch is faster. I prefer analogue mechanical watches, that way I do not have to worry about batteries since I have so many. I do have a digital watch is though solar pathfinder by casio that I use when I go hiking to keep track of the altitude changes and to predict the weather. And in my opinion Analogue is better starting a coutdown just requires a quick rotate of the bezel. I also
    • If I am prepared to turn my head a few degrees in any direction I can see the time from pretty much anywhere. Apart from impressing your friends by wearing a Patek Philippe or some such, I don't really understand why people wear watches anymore.

      I suppose you've never met a shift-worker with a dual-time watch where the second display is set to 07:00 on waking so that one doesn't forget to each lunch when the real-world strikes 03:00.

      I suppose you don't operate a stop-watch by feel and sound and habit when dr

  • Just keep releasing rumours about crazy products in the pipe line:

    1. TV you talk at. Check, Samsung already made one. Anyone buy it?
    2. Watch with battery life about 1/1000th of a normal one. In the pipeline...
    3. ??????

  • If Samsung releases their watch first, Apple will release a "better" one. That of course may mean Apple won't release what they planned to however.

    You can't release a competing product that doesn't compete without losing face.

  • by TimHunter (174406) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:09PM (#43228483)
    You'll be able to jailbreak the Samsung smart watch, load a new kernel, hell, even compile your own kernel ON THE WATCH using a complete Gnu tool chain. And you won't have to go to some curated app store to get apps for the Samsung watch. You can get 'em from anywhere. For free! How can Apple's walled garden compete with that? Samsung FTW!
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @06:22PM (#43228617)
    An internet connected wearable spice rack for your arms. Welcome to the world of the future.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @07:39PM (#43229627)

    This feels a lot like history might be repeating itself here.

    Anyone remember the ill-fated CrunchPad? Public announcement preceded that of the ipad, but for a bunch of reasons it never amounted to much while the Ipad took off and even Apple's competitors did better than how the crunchpad ended up.

    Now we have the Pebble Watch [getpebble.com] which actually did make it to market (despite many unforseen delays) before the iwatch and other competitors (I think sony has a crappy smartwatch, but it is crappy). Even so it is immature with only modest software functionality at the moment.

    Meanwhile all the chatter gives the impression Apple and others have got their own versions coming real soon now. Maybe its just FUD to scare people into wait-and-see on Pebble instead of going out and buying one right now. Or maybe there really is something good right around the corner that will clobber Pebble.

  • Will it be standalone without having a phone? Or will it require it? It would be nice to have it in the phone.

  • Sony already makes and sells a SmartWatch. This seems to have gone completely unnoticed by the blogosphere, who keep using terms like "first to market" and "new category" and don't seem to be able to use a Google search to see whats already out there. Sony's Smartwatch also is the benchmark that Apple will copy pretty much everything from, including the way it syncs with your existing Android phone and bluetooth gadgets. (You can bet it will do less cost too much, just prettier, and sell millions more).

    A
  • Obligatory Douglas Adams quote:

    Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea...

    Although I wear a relatively smart digital watch, I often wonder whether an automatic piece of jewelry (say, a Breguet) would be nicer on my wrist. Can't afford, so the question is purely philosophical.

  • I want Jarvis.
  • They should definitely stop for one second and ask people what they think. Then they'd hear "that's stupid and I don't want one" from all customers everywhere and not waste their money. They look ridiculous, the screen is unreadably small, and they'll likely be prone to damage. Also, a lot of people like me can't wear a watch because constant nerve pressure causes horrible headaches.
  • I personally cannot wait for the new wave of smartwatches so that we can enjoy all of the exciting lawsuits over who started working on which one first.

    Even the introduction quote sounds like an opening move in the gambit: "We've been preparing the watch product for so long." Not a specific time, just so long - long enough to make it legally questionable who had the idea first.

    I personally can't wait for Casio to leap into the fray, patents blazing. I'm gonna need to license me some popcorn for this.

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