Apple Beware, Samsung Plans Smartwatch Too - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Devices
09:15 AM

Apple Beware, Samsung Plans Smartwatch Too

Mere days after reports surface about an Apple-made smartwatch, leaked screenshots purport to reveal what Samsung's smartwatch will look like.

Apple iWatch Vs. Smartwatches Past And Present
Apple iWatch Vs. Smartwatches Past And Present
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Apple and Samsung may extend their smartphone and tablet battle to the wrist. New images have appeared online that are believed to be screenshots of the Samsung Altius, a smartwatch that will arrive later this year. The Altius could go head-to-head with Apple's own iWatch. Have the smartwatch wars begun?

The Altius screenshots leaked less than a week after both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal ran articles suggesting that Apple -- Samsung's main competitor in a variety of markets -- is working on a wearable product, probably a watch.

The Times and Journal report that Apple has been working with Foxconn, its manufacturing partner, on the watch. Other than "curved glass" and "iOS," there's not much to go on. Apple has hired people -- some suggest as many as 100 engineers -- who have backgrounds in sensors and related technology.

[ InformationWeek's Thomas Claburn asks whether adding a processor and wristband to an iPod Nano form factor makes sense. For his take, see Apple iWatch: 7 Reasons It Won't Fly. ]

The leaked screenshots from Samsung are at least something to look at. What do they tell us?

The user interface shown in the images is stark, mostly black-and-white. It has a Holo-esque look, which is the design language used by Android 4 and up. Given Samsung's tight ties with Google, it's unlikely that the Altius would run anything other than Android, but it would also be premature to discount Samsung's own Bada or Tizen platforms. Most of the text on the screens is in Korean, but translations point to ties with Korean wireless network operators. This suggests cellular wireless radios may be onboard.

Based on what's visible in the screenshots, the Altius would of course include a watch screen in addition to a media player, mapping of some sort and messaging notifications. The way some of the icons run off the right edge of the screenshots suggest a touch-based user interface that would allow owners to scroll sideways to access more information.

The screenshots measure 500 x 500 pixels, but there are no indications how big the screen of the Altius might be. By way of comparison, the Motorola MOTOACTV smartwatch has a 1.6-inch display with 176 x 220 pixels. The Sony SmartWatch has an OLED display that measures 1.3 inches and packs 128 x 128 pixels. It is unlikely the 500 x 500 pixel measurements are indicative of what the final resolution will be, unless Samsung is planning to offer a watch with a massive screen.

For now, neither the Apple iWatch nor the Samsung Altius are real products. Neither company has confirmed plans to work on such devices. It is entirely possible that they are, but until such a time as they get around to announcing them, the iWatch and Altius will remain the stuff of sci-fi dreams.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Number 6
Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
2/19/2013 | 8:52:54 PM
re: Apple Beware, Samsung Plans Smartwatch Too
Apple's showing its age. Take a look around. Few young people wear watches these days.

That's why we senior IT people can surreptitiously figure out when it's time to get out of a boring conversation with a quick glance at our wrist, while they get stuck.
User Rank: Apprentice
2/17/2013 | 7:07:59 PM
re: Apple Beware, Samsung Plans Smartwatch Too
BOOO. How scary can a rumor be? Apple should be scared for the sake of its rumored watch by a rumored watch by Samsumg? BOOO. You cannot be taking money for this writing?
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll