Well, that may be a bit strong, but the call to those of us in the media and analyst community has gone out from Samsung (News - Alert). When the company’s Galaxy S4 was announced, Samsung began a “Samsung Unpacked 2013” campaign, along with a subhead that read “Episode 1.” And now Samsung has announced that Samsung Unpacked 2013 “Episode 2” is headed our way, both at the IFA Technology Show in Berlin on September 4, along with a concurrent associated event in New York City for those of us who cannot be in Berlin then.
Now, let’s couple this bit of news with the fact that on July 29, 2013, Samsung applied for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on the term (or “mark” as the application refers to it) “Samsung Galaxy Gear.” Further, in the “Identification” (description) section of the application Samsung noted the following:
Wearable digital electronic devices in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band or bangle capable of providing access to the Internet and for sending and receiving phone calls, electronic mails and messages; wearable electronic handheld devices in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band or bangle for the wireless receipt, storage and/or transmission of data and messages and for keeping track of or managing personal information; smart phones; tablet computers; portable computers.
And we have the following bit of info from the SamMobile website about a Samsung product that might be referred to as model number SM-V700: “Our sources have confirmed that Samsung Germany has received a Samsung SmartWatch Prototype and has also begun testing firmware for the device. No other European country has one, instead of Germany, maybe this indicates an IFA 2013 launch.”
It has also come to light that there are some Samsung smartwatch patents are to be found in South Korea. Another tip of the hat to SamMobile on this – the website claims that several patents that also mention the SM-V700 have emerged by way of the Korea Institute of Patent Information. The following two images are associated with the patent filings.
Those certainly offer some concrete suggestions for a smartwatch design. Finally, we’ve all also seen the “concept” video for what a Samsung next display technology and wearable tech world might look like.
So then, it is looking to us that we can conclude the odds are very much in favor of “Episode 2” proving to be a yes answer to our headline question. The only thing missing at the moment are actual Samsung wearable products. Clearly this is about to change, but we have some questions in need of answers.
Will the first Galaxy Gear device be a Samsung smartwatch? Quite honestly, it needs to be if Samsung hopes to tell a real “Episode 2” story. Let’s hypothetically jump forward and suggest that such an announcement will happen. Then what?
Will Samsung capture – as our recent Wearable Technology Conference keynoter Jennifer Darmour made clear as bottom line requirements -- the necessary wearable tech “elegant design” elements that are so critical to the future success of any wearable tech products? Will Samsung be able to deliver on the “cost is no object” feel that will be necessary to succeed in the smartwatch space?
Misfit Wearables’ Shine is a great example of a wearable tech product that meets these requirements. Will Samsung be able to make the transition from a plastic-cased product loaded down with gimmicks (read that to mean the Galaxy S4) to a smartwatch product that exudes elegance, simplicity and attention to real functionality – as the Shine does -- that effortlessly moves beyond the Galaxy S4?
We confess that we have our concerns. The timing is such that Samsung is looking to get something into the pipeline ahead of Apple’s (News - Alert) own upcoming fall product announcements. Whether or not Samsung is rushing a smartwatch out the door or not is a question that will only be answered on September 4, 2013. We will be disappointed if it ends up looking like an Android (News - Alert)-based competitor to the Pebble rather than something that might emerge as a fashion trendsetter.
Here is one concept - and something we ourselves hope doesn’t end up becoming reality:
There are many ways for Samsung to go with the “Gear” products. We hope Samsung focuses on elegant design and functionality cloaked in effective simplicity.
We should “note” that Samsung will also unveil the new Galaxy Note 3 tablet (um, we mean phablet) on September 4th – but that is hardly exciting news!
The Samsung Galaxy Gear trademark application itself is available for your own personal viewing on the USPTO website.
Edited by Rich Steeves
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