As Samsung beats back rumors of poor Galaxy Gear sales, it made me wonder what buyers really want to see in their ideal smartwatch? The world may be waiting to see what Apple unveils in the wearables category, but that hasn’t stopped companies like Sony, Qualcomm, and Pebble from trying to capture just a small sliver of this up and coming market.
With a reporting yesterday indicating that Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch had “flopped” with only 50,000 units sold, the manufacturing giant is refuting that report. However, even as Samsung speaks to the media regarding the Galaxy Gear as a successful product, there is some confusion about whether or not the company has “shipped” or “sold” 800,000 units …
Update: Samsung wasted no time in refuting this report with a statement provided by an exec that claims the company has “sold” more than 800,000 units. Hit this link for the full update.
A new report courtesy of Business Korea indicates that Samsung’s Galaxy Gear has fallen well below initial sales expectations. According to the publication, Samsung’s first go at the smartwatch market has sold less than 50,000 units and is moving only 800-900 units per day.
Samsung could see itself getting priority access to new glass technologies after taking a 7.4 percent stake in Gorilla Glass maker Corning and simultaneously signing a 10-year supply agreement.
The net effect of a complex series of share swaps and cash investments, allied to a long-term procurement commitment from Samsung, is a $2B deal that will enable Corning to boost its R&D investment, accelerating the pace of development of new types of display.
With closer cooperation between the two companies, Samsung may prove well positioned to gain access to those new technologies ahead of the rest of the market … Read more
Update: The Korea Times reports that LG too is developing a smart watch and even testing products similar to Google Glass:
A source familiar with the matter told The Korea Times Friday that the Yeouido-based firm’s development of the next-generation watch, along with an innovative smart product similar to Internet giant Google’s Glass, was part of its long-term strategy to keep its competitiveness in the volatile information technology (IT) industry
While Apple and even Samsung have been at the heart of the rumors that new smart watch devices could be the products to keep an eye out for in 2013, Google too might try its hand at bringing a wearable computer in wristwatch form. According to a new report from The Financial Times, citing “a person briefed on the project,” Google’s Android unit is working on a smart watch platform of its own:
Google’s latest venture into wearable technology was more an attention-seeking gimmick than a serious new venture. But with the search giant ploughing significant resources into Google Glass, which embeds a screen, camera, microphone and other sensors into a pair of futuristic spectacles, it’s another indication that Google is serious about moving from the digital to the physical.
While Glass is being created in its X Lab, home to experimental “moonshot” projects such as the self-driving car, Google’s smart watch is being developed by its Android unit, according to a person briefed on the project
The fact that the device is reportedly being developed by Google’s Android unit, and not its experimental X Labs like Google Glass, could be an indication that Google plans to bring its watch product to the masses sooner rather than later. FT’s source also confirmed that the project is separate from the recently announced smart watch project from Samsung that is rumored to run a new operating system called AltiusOS and not Android.
Bloomberg reported in February that Apple had around 100 product designers working on its smart watch, and many analysts expected the product to be released by Apple as early as this year. Today’s report from FT doesn’t provide many details on what exactly Google has planned, but it’s a sign that Google isn’t betting on Glass as the be-all and end-all of wearable platforms. The report did note that Google is developing its smart watch “to act as an extension to the smartphones using” Android.
Richard DeVaul, a PhD. scientist from MIT with a focus on building wearable technologies, was snared from Apple this month by Google. At Apple he was rumored to be working with SVP of Industrial Design, Jonny Ive in Apple’s secret labs building the next big thing.
Besides his having knowledge of the inter-workings of Apple, it is also interesting that DeVaul is a hardware person who has focused on building wearable products for the past decade. Google has been a software company for all of its existence, but more and more it appears that it will enter the hardware business…but probably in smart accessories rather than phones.
He’ll likely join two former Danger hardware experts in a new Google lab called Google Hardware where his Job Description of “Rapid idea evaluation and prototyping for new projects at Google. ” seems to fit in with Joel Britt and Matt Hershenson are doing.
I wrote about DeVaul’s transition to Apple at Computerworld 18 months ago, excerpted below: