It's no surprise that following Apple's iWatch rumor Samsung announced its own smartwatch plans in an attempt to get ahead of the competition, but the rumorers have also anticipated this thing for awhile. After some whisperings from sources, Samsung's executive vice president of mobile business Lee Young Hee today confirmed plans for the Samsung's version of the iWatch to Bloomberg. Lee, however, didn't mention any other details, including price, sale date, or specs. But, that's not a problem for the rumorers: Unlike Apple, Samsung doesn't keep all of its products super-duper secret. Due to leaks, patent fillings, and their previous computer watch efforts, we can get an idea of how this wearable gadget might look.
A Total Wraparound Phone
Samsung has already shown off its bendable glass at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011. It would make sense this technology would find its way into a wraparound wrist piece.
Because of a patent for "flexible display," the rumor mongers have suggested this very display-type for the iWatch, even though Apple CEO Tim Cook has before said he doesn't like AMOLED Displays. Considering Samsung already has already shown the world its flexi-glass, it's even more likely that the time-piece deluxe will sport this kind of slap-wrist idea.
The Samsung Altius
Just after the Apple iWatch rumors turned into more legitimate reports, Slashgear's Chris Burns spotted leaked shots of the Samsung Altius, a possible brand-name for this impending device:
These photos suggest a touch screen, along with what may or may not be Android software. It also looks like the phone will have a music player, email, and a data plan. Patent applications also suggest a Samsung smartwatch, like all smart things these days, would include a camera.
A Phone Watch
As early as 2007, Samsung conceived of a phone watch, which in the pre-smartphone days looked like a phone on your wirst, according to a patent filing:
This conception of a "phone", with its physical buttons, is a little bit outdated. A modern smartwatch wouldn't have fixed buttons like that, but digital ones that wouldn't take up permanent wrist-space. A more recent 2011 filing shows a similar flip design that seems to have nixed the touch-tone keys:
This doesn't have the square looks of the Samsung smart-watch concept designs, like the ones above by Johan Loekit, which also happens to match the aesthetic of popular products like the Pebble.
Release Date: Soon
The rumorers believe that Apple will release its version by the end of this year, giving Samsung two options. It could either way until Apple has tested the waters and see how reception goes. Or, try to beat the iMaker at its own game. Generally, Samsung does the former strategy. But, considering it has so much (failed) experience with watches—it launched a 450 Euro touch screen watch in France back in 2011, for example—it might attempt to get out there first.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.