According to the Bloomberg reports, Samsung Electronics Co. will introduce a wristwatch-like device named the Galaxy Gear next month that can make phone calls, surf the Web and handle e-mails.
The Bloomberg report comes a few days after the website SamMobile, which tracks Samsung’s mobile business, said a watch was definitely coming at Unpacked and would be called Galaxy Gear, as anticipated. Sony, which also has its own smartwatch on the market, meanwhile, is holding its own event ahead of IFA, also Sept. 4.
This means the device would be announced less than a week before Apple’s expected Sept. 10 iPhone unveiling.
Apple has not confirmed that timing or even that such an event is taking place. The company is expected to announce lower-cost iPhone (likely called the iPhone 5C) and an upgrade to the iPhone 5 (called the iPhone 5S), according to various unconfirmed reports. Apple is also rumored to be working on its own smart watch, reports Mashable.
Sources also said the Samsung Galaxy Gear will be powered by the Android mobile operating system, like the rest of Samsung’s smartphones and tablets. Samsung is expected to reveal the Galaxy Note 3, its smartphone-tablet hybrid, the same day as the Galaxy Gear on Sept. 4.
Samsung may announce the device at its event, but it could take many more months before it lands on store shelves for consumers to buy. The news outlet contradicted earlier reports by saying the device will not employ a flexible screen from Samsung, which suggests the “rounded” display is out.
It would be no surprise that Samsung is investing in wearable technology, which could be the next major gadget category. The wearable tech market is expected to hit $1.5 billion in 2014, a huge leap from the $800 million it’s raking in this year, according to a report by Juniper Research.
“It will carve a niche for sure as this is an initial product in the market,” said Chung Chang Won, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Seoul. “Wearable devices could be one of the trends in the smartphone market, but I’m not sure yet whether watches or glasses will set the trend.”
Apple has been largely mum on its own plans for a smartwatch, and there have been no signs that a watch is coming at the Sept. 10 event. Apple had a team of about 100 designers working on watch-like device, two people familiar with the matter said in February.
The Cupertino, California-based company is seeking to introduce its device this year, one of the people familiar said at the time. If Samsung shows a real smartwatch in September, including details on price and release, it would significantly up the stakes for the Apple event.
Sony, Pebble, I’m Watch and other manufacturers already have smartwatches on the market. Meanwhile, Google is working out the kinks on Google Glass, its connected headset due early next year.
Simple wearable fitness devices like the FitBit are already extremely popular and many of their features, like monitoring heart-rate or tracking movement, will likely be included in the bigger products, says CNN.