A Samsung executive vice president has confirmed that the company is working on developing a smartwatch. Apple, Samsung’s chief competitor in the mobile device market, is said to be working on a similar product, but it has not confirmed those rumors.
Bloomberg’s Jungah Lee reported, “Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) is developing a wristwatch as Asia’s biggest technology company races against Apple Inc. (AAPL) to create a new industry of wearable devices that perform similar tasks as smartphones. ‘We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,’ Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, said during an interview in Seoul. ‘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.'”
Brian X. Chen with The New York Times added, “[Lee] did not share any details about the watch, but what matters is that Samsung has beaten Apple in saying it is doing a watch. While Samsung’s products have been successful worldwide, the company has been accused in courts of copying Apple. Now that Samsung has said it is working on a smart watch, it will be more difficult for critics to call it a copycat even if Apple releases one first. Apple has not officially said it is doing a watch, though rumors are that one is coming soon.”
Patrick Seitz with Investor’s Business Daily observed, “Samsung’s smartwatch announcement exposes a fundamental difference between Samsung and Apple (AAPL). South Korea-based Samsung Electronics has shown a willingness to bring to market a broad assortment of gadgets and let consumers decide which they prefer. By contrast, Apple makes very few bets on new products, keeping a limited portfolio. Samsung demonstrated its business philosophy on Tuesday by revealing that it’s making a smartwatch, something Apple is only rumored to have in development.”
Time’s Jared Newman commented, “Samsung doesn’t have much of a track record for reinventing product categories, as Apple did with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Instead, Samsung’s strategy has been to go where Apple won’t — such as bigger phones, smaller tablets and stylus-driven software — while borrowing (stealing, arguably) the ideas that made its rival so successful. Apple’s critics like to say the company’s ideas are obvious, but as some pundits have noted, those very ideas once seemed unimaginable. The smartwatch will be a great test for that theory. It’ll be interesting to see if Samsung can strike first in a nascent category and still rival Apple’s work.”