The Smart Watch: Samsung, Apple Ready Dueling Wrist Devices

Dick Tracy stampThe competitive effort by Samsung and Google to introduce an “iWatch” is not unlike the US-Soviet race to launch a man into space. Early September should bring new wearable devices from both companies within days of one another.

Both Bloomberg and the NY Times reported that Samsung is going to announce its smart watch on either September 4 or 6, seeking to preempt Apple’s anticipated similar announcement during its iPhone event on September 10 (still not confirmed).

Samsung’s watch is reportedly to be called “Galaxy Gear,” which sounds more like a product category than an individual product. We can expect Apple’s smart watch to be branded “iWatch.” The company has applied for the trademark “iWatch” in Japan according to Reuters.

The Samsung device, based on Android, will reportedly “make phone calls, play video games and send e-mails,” according to the Times’ article. The Apple watch will likely interact with the iPhone and iOS apps, but it’s not clear what specific features it will possess.

There are already a number of smart watches in the market. The Kickstarter-funded Pebble, for example, is now available from Best Buy for $150. The outlook for Pebble could be dramatically affected by the introduction of the Samsung and Apple smart watches. Ultimately some alchemical mix of features, design and pricing will determine sales.

Smart watches are part of a new category of wearable Internet devices, which include Google Glass but also Fitbit and other gadgets. A recent consumer study conducted for Rackspace found mixed demand and reaction to wearable technology. While many people thought their lives had been enhanced, there were also frustrations and privacy concerns.

Google Glass, while not a mainstream product, has already captured the public’s imagination. And though it’s unclear how these new experiences will be monetized, Google is already considering “pay per gaze” ad models.

Marketers have yet to fully embrace and adapt to mobile. Yet, here comes another category of connected devices to address.

The smartphone has dramatically impacted watch sales. However sufficiently “cool” and functional smart watches may revive interest. The idea of a smart watch or watch phone has captivated people since the Dick Tracy comic strip first appeared in the 1930s.

Related Topics: Apple | Apple: iOS | Channel: Mobile Marketing | Google: Android


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • William Sears

    In the first sentence, you say “Samsung and Google” but I think you mean “Samsung and Apple.” Typo?

  • KreyosFan

    I think that a little bit gets lost in the feature dissection of all these watches to get back to the bigger picture of why a smart watch is cool in the first place: 1)protect your phone from theft, loss, drops, drowning 2)hands free calls 3)better fitness tracking 4)no more missing calls b/c you can’t find your phone. I’m pretty sure that whatever Apple comes out with will be gorgeous, sell like crazy, and work well. Problem is, it will be expensive and late to market. I’ve got my eye on the Kreyos – – as a mid-level, very functional, smart watch option available sooner.

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