News by Andrew Kameka on Friday March 22, 2013.
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Did you hear that your favorite company is making a smart watch? I don't know the name of your favorite company, but it doesn't matter if it's Apple, Samsung, Google, LG, or McDonald's - everyone's making a smart watch.
Smart watches are not a new phenomenon but their adoption has increased in recent years. Generations after children dreamed of being like Dick Tracy and having a watch that could place phone calls, the trend nowadays is to develop a watch that connects with a smartphone in some way. Rumors continue to spread of Apple developing a smart watch, Samsung recently confirmed it's definitely making one, and a few other major companies have jumped on board. Here's a list of the biggest tech companies tied to a smart watch rumor or confirmation. This post will be updated as more companies come out of the woodwork with their own watches.
Apple - Rumored
Apple has long been believed to develop an iWatch. It seemed a natural progression once third-parties began developing wristbands that could connect to the old iPod nano form factor. Bloomberg suggests that Apple will develop an iOS watch that could be released later this year, but it's still very much a developmental project. Possible features include caller ID, making phone calls, checking map coordinates, and including pedometers and heart rate sensors.
Samsung - confirmed
Samsung Mobile EVP Lee Young Hee confirmed earlier this week that Samsung is developing a smart watch. The Galaxy Watch won't be Samsung's first foray into the smart watch sector, but it will be the first since the Korean giant established Galaxy as a strong brand for its mobile products. Features are unknown, but Samsung will probably release the device at some point in 2013.
LG - rumored
LG joined the list of companies unable to keep "sources" from spilling the beans about its planned release of a smart watch. The Korea Times has revealed that LG is building a wristwatch that could run either Android or Firefox OS (far more likely to be Android) and is even making a Google Glass-like product. LG also released a watch that could connect to a phone to check messages in 2009, but the new watch would be an advancement that could better compete with the current crop of options.
Google - rumored
Google already has its hands, or eyes, full with Google Glass, but the company is also believed to develop its own watch. The Financial Times reports that the Android team at Google is designing a watch that would "act as an extension to smartphones using [Android]." Google actually filed for a watch patent that had a dual-screen display and an onboard camera. Google probably won't go that far with its watch, but it would make sense to link with Google Now to show important information or trigger voice search, show messages and notifications, and use speech-to-text to send replies. It could also refine the MOTOACTV fitness watch developed by its Motorola subsidiary.
It would seem strange that so many rumors for smart watches would appear at roughly the same time. With the exception of Apple, all of the reports have picked up steam from reputable outlets in the past week. Is this just a fad for these companies or the start of a new market? Here's a list of some other smart watch competitors.
Pebble - the most successful Kickstarter project of all time and a waterproof e-paper smart watch that can check messages, control music, and display custom watch faces.
Sony - released a SmartWatch in 2012 that receive underwhelming reviews. It was an improvement on the previous watch launched in 2011, so perhaps Sony refreshes the product once more later this year based on increased interest from competitors.
Motorola - Released the MOTOACTV fitness watch with a GPS tracker, MP3 player, and heart rate monitor. If Google truly is developing a smart watch, there's little chance Motorola invests in a new version of the watch to compete with its parent company.
i'm watch - The Bluetooth-capable watch shows calls, emails, SMS, and app notifications. It costs significantly more than competitors and has weak battery life, but it supports apps and Android or iOS.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.