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3/19/2013
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Samsung Smartwatch In The Works

Samsung's wearable device will do many of the same things that a smartphone can.

Apple iWatch Vs. Smartwatches Past And Present
Apple iWatch Vs. Smartwatches Past And Present
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Samsung is working to design a new wearable computer, similar in appearance to a wristwatch, report both Reuters and Bloomberg. The device will be able to perform many of the functions for which smartphones are known. Globally, watches are a $60 billion business.

"We've been preparing the watch product for so long," said Lee Young Hee, executive VP of Samsung's mobile business, to Bloomberg. "We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them."

Lee declined to provide any details about the device, nor did he say when such a product would go on sale.

In Reuters' report, an unnamed source said a watch is definitely in the works, but that source also declined to provide details.

[ Does a smartwatch make sense in the new world of smartphones and tablets? Read Apple iWatch: Readers Speak Out. ]

Samsung has offered a variety of smartwatch products since 1999, though none of them are quite so capable as modern smartwatches such as the Pebble or Metawatch.

Interest in smartwatches has surged in recent months with devices such as the Pebble reaching the market. Pebble is famous mostly because it used Kickstarter to raise funding for its development. The Pebble watch went on sale earlier this year.

The New York Times added kindling to the smartwatch fire when it reported in February that Apple is experimenting with a wearable device made of curved glass. Since then, Apple and Samsung have been in a virtual race to see which company can first deliver such a product to the market. Other reports about Apple's smartwatch suggested that as many as 100 engineers are working on the product. Apple's watch may reach the market as early as this year.

What none of the reports say is exactly how smartwatches will mimic smartphones. The current batch of devices offers features such as email, messaging and other alerts -- but they are based on an accompanying smartphone. Will the smartwatches stand on their own, or will they require a smartphone or tablet nearby for certain functions.

For example, Motorola's MOTOACTV sport watch needs a smartphone to push SMS messages and call notifications, as it doesn't have a cellular connection of its own.

With few real details about Apple and Samsung's wearable computers to cling to, gadget lovers will need to settle for alternatives like the Pebble.

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